UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

[X] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

 

[  ] TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from __________ to __________

 

Commission file number 1-12471

 

THEMAVEN, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware   68-0232575
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
  (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
     

225 Liberty Street, 27th Floor

New York, New York

  10281
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

 

(212) 321-5002

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class   Trading Symbol(s)   Name of each exchange on which registered
N/A   N/A   N/A

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: Common Stock $0.01 par value

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer [  ] Accelerated filer [  ]
   
Non-accelerated filer [X] Smaller reporting company [X]
   
Emerging growth company [  ]  

 

If emerging growth company, indicated by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(b) of the Exchange Act. [  ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. [  ]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes [  ] or No [X]

 

As of June 30, 2020, which was the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter for fiscal 2020, the aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates was $16,160,565. This calculation is based upon the closing price of the common stock of $0.65 per share on that date, as reported by the OTC Markets Group Inc.

 

As of August 13, 2021, the Registrant had 263,441,879 shares of common stock outstanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Form 10-K

 

Table of Contents

 

    Page
     
Part I.   5
     
Item 1. Business 5
     
Item 1A. Risk Factors 14
     
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments 25
     
Item 2. Properties 25
     
Item 3. Legal Proceedings 26
     
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosure 26
     
Part II.   26
     
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 26
     
Item 6. Selected Financial Data 28
     
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 28
     
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 45
     
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 45
     
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure 46
     
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures 46
     
Item 9B. Other Information 48
     
Part III.   48
     
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 48
     
Item 11. Executive Compensation 56
     
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 65
     
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence 72
     
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services 75
     
Part IV.   76
     
Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules 76
     
Signatures 85

 

2
 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

 

TheMaven, Inc. (“Maven,” the “Company,” “us,” “we,” or “our”), is filing this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Annual Report”) for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 (the “Fiscal Year Period”) as part of its efforts to become current in its filing obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Included in this Annual Report are the Company’s audited financial statements and related financial information for the Fiscal Year Period, which have not previously been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).

 

We intend to file Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the first and second quarters of fiscal 2021 as soon as reasonably practicable. Following the filing of the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the second quarter of fiscal 2021, we will be current in our filing obligations.

 

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Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

 

Certain statements and information in this Annual Report may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and include, without limitation, statements concerning our business strategy, future revenues, market growth, capital requirements, product introductions, and expansion plans and the adequacy of our funding. Other statements contained in this Annual Report that are not historical facts are also forward-looking statements. We have tried, wherever possible, to identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” and other comparable terminology.

 

We caution investors that any forward-looking statements presented in this Annual Report, or that we may make orally or in writing from time to time, are based on the beliefs of, assumptions made by, and information currently available to, us. Such statements are based on assumptions, and the actual outcome will be affected by known and unknown risks, trends, uncertainties, and factors that are beyond our control or ability to predict. Although we believe that our assumptions are reasonable, they are not guarantees of future performance, and some will inevitably prove to be incorrect. As a result, our actual future results can be expected to differ from our expectations, and those differences may be material. Accordingly, investors should use caution in relying on forward-looking statements, which are based only on known results and trends at the time they are made, to anticipate future results or trends. Certain risks are discussed in this Annual Report and also from time to time in our other filings with the SEC.

 

This Annual Report and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. We do not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions to our forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report.

 

This Annual Report is being filed for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, as a late report to comply with the reporting obligations applicable to us under the Exchange Act. Unless specifically required to provide information for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, by the rules and regulations of the SEC, the discussion of the business of the Company reflects its current assets and current operations. Where the information relates to the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, we have made a reasonable effort herein to make that clear. Also, to be clear, the financial information in the consolidated financial statements and footnotes accompanying this Annual Report and the other financial information and management’s discussion about the consolidated financial statements relate to the periods for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

 

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Part I

 

Item 1. Business

 

We operate a best-in-class technology platform empowering premium publishers who impact, inform, educate and entertain. We operate a significant portion of the media businesses for Sports Illustrated (as defined below), own and operate TheStreet, Inc. (the “TheStreet”), and power more than 250 independent brands. The Maven technology platform (the “Maven Platform”) provides digital publishing, distribution, and monetization capabilities for the Sports Illustrated and TheStreet businesses as well as a coalition of independent, professionally managed, online media publishers (each a “Publisher Partner”). Each Publisher Partner joins the media-coalition by invitation-only and is drawn from premium media brands and independent publishing businesses. Publisher Partners publish content and oversee an online community for their respective sites, leveraging our proprietary technology platform to engage the collective audiences within a single network. Generally, Publisher Partners are independently owned, strategic partners who receive a share of revenue from the interaction with their content. When they join, we believe Publisher Partners will benefit from the proprietary technology of the Maven Platform, techniques and relationships. Advertising revenue may improve due to the scale we have achieved by combining all Publisher Partners onto a single platform and a large and experienced sales organization. They may also benefit from our membership marketing and management systems, which we believe will enhance their revenue. Additionally, we believe the lead brand within each vertical creates a halo benefit for all Publisher Partners in the vertical while each of them adds to the breadth and quality of content. While they benefit from these critical performance improvements they also may save substantially in costs of technology, infrastructure, advertising sales, and member marketing and management.

 

Please see “Our Future Business” and “Future Liquidity” for additional important information in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

 

Corporate History

 

We were originally incorporated in Delaware as Integrated Surgical Systems, Inc. (“Integrated”) in 1990. On July 22, 2016, Amplify Media, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware and on July 27, 2016, it changed its name to Amplify Media Network, Inc. (“Amplify Media Network”). Amplify Media Network changed its name again on October 14, 2016 to TheMaven Network, Inc. (“Maven Network”).

 

On October 11, 2016, Integrated and Maven Network entered into a share exchange agreement (the “Share Exchange Agreement”), whereby the stockholders of Maven Network agreed to exchange all of the then-issued and outstanding shares of common stock for shares of common stock of Integrated. On November 4, 2016, the parties consummated a recapitalization pursuant to the Share Exchange Agreement and, as a result, Maven Network became a wholly owned subsidiary of Integrated. Integrated changed its name to TheMaven, Inc. on December 2, 2016. On March 5, 2018, TheMaven Network changed its name to Maven Coalition, Inc. (“Maven Coalition 1”).

 

HubPages Merger

 

HubPages, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“HubPages”), became our wholly-owned subsidiary pursuant to that certain agreement and plan of merger, dated March 13, 2018 (“Agreement and Plan of Merger”), and as amended by the Amendment to Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated April 25, 2018 (“First Amendment”), the Second Amendment to Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated June 1, 2018 (“Second Amendment”), the Third Amendment to Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated May 31, 2019 (“Third Amendment”), and the Fourth Amendment to Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated December 15, 2020 (the “Fourth Amendment” and, collectively with the Agreement and Plan of Merger, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and the Third Amendment, the “HubPages Merger Agreement”) between us, HubPages, and HP Acquisition Co, Inc. (“HPAC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ours incorporated in Delaware on March 13, 2018 in order to facilitate the acquisition of HubPages by us. Pursuant to the HubPages Merger Agreement, HPAC merged with and into HubPages, with HubPages continuing as the surviving corporation in the merger and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ours (the “HubPages Merger”). On August 23, 2018, we acquired all the outstanding shares of HubPages pursuant to the HubPages Merger.

 

Say Media Merger

 

Say Media, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Say Media”), became our wholly owned subsidiary pursuant to that certain agreement and plan of merger, dated October 12, 2018 and as amended on October 17, 2018 (collectively, the “Say Media Merger Agreements”) between us, Say Media, SM Acquisition Co., Inc., a Delaware corporation (“SMAC”), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of ours incorporated on September 6, 2018 to facilitate a merger, and Matt Sanchez, solely in his capacity as a representative of the Say Media security holders. Pursuant to the Say Media Merger Agreement, SMAC merged with and into Say Media, with Say Media continuing as the surviving corporation in the merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of ours (the “Say Media Merger”). On December 12, 2018, we acquired all the outstanding shares of Say Media pursuant to the Say Media Merger Agreements.

 

Acquisition of TheStreet, Inc. and Relationship with Cramer Digital

 

TheStreet became our wholly-owned subsidiary pursuant to that certain agreement and plan of merger, dated June 11, 2019, as amended (the “TheStreet Merger Agreement”), between us, Say Media, and TST Acquisition Co., Inc., a Delaware corporation (“TSTAC”), a newly-formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of ours formed in order to facilitate the acquisition of TheStreet by us. Pursuant to TheStreet Merger Agreement, TSTAC merged with and into TheStreet, with TheStreet continuing as the surviving corporation in the merger as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ours (the “TheStreet Merger”). On August 7, 2019, we acquired all the outstanding shares of TheStreet pursuant to the TheStreet Merger.

 

5
 

 

On August 7, 2019, in connection with the TheStreet Merger, we entered into a letter agreement (the “Original Cramer Agreement”) with finance and stock market expert Jim Cramer, who co-founded TheStreet, which sets forth the terms of the Cramer Services to be provided by Mr. Cramer and Cramer Digital, Inc. (“Cramer Digital”), a production company owned and controlled by Mr. Cramer, featuring the digital rights and content created by Mr. Cramer and his team of financial experts. A second letter agreement providing additional terms was entered into on April 16, 2020 (the “Second Cramer Agreement”). We entered into a third letter agreement on January 25, 2021, which extended the notice date to cancel the third year of the term of the Original Cramer Agreement from February 7, 2021 to April 9, 2021 (the “Third Cramer Agreement” and, together with the Original Cramer Agreement and the Second Cramer Agreement, the “Cramer Agreement”). On April 6, 2021, Cramer Digital notified us that it would cancel the optional third year of the term of the Cramer Agreement and we and Cramer Digital commenced negotiation of a new contract. On August 7, 2021, we entered into an extension of the Cramer Agreement to provide Mr. Cramer's services through September 30, 2021. Further, we are in discussions about an ongoing relationship.

 

The Cramer Agreement provides for Mr. Cramer and Cramer Digital to create content for us on each business day during the term of the Cramer Agreement, prepare special content for us, make certain personal appearances and provide other services as reasonably requested and mutually agreed to (collectively, the “Cramer Services”). In consideration for the Cramer Services, we pay Cramer Digital a commission on subscription revenues and net advertising revenues for certain content (the “Revenue Share”). In addition, we pay Cramer Digital approximately $3,000,000 as an annualized guarantee payment in equal monthly draws, recoupable against the Revenue Share. We also issued two options to Cramer Digital pursuant to our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2019 Plan”). The first option was to purchase up to two million shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $0.72, the closing stock price on August 7, 2019, the grant date. This option vests over 36 months. The second option was to purchase up to three million shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $0.54, the closing stock price on April 21, 2020, the grant date. In the event Cramer Digital and we agree to renew the term of the Cramer Agreement for a minimum of three years from the end of the second year of the current term, 900,000 shares will vest on the first day of the third year of the term as so extended (the “Trigger Date”). The remaining shares will vest equally on the 12-month anniversary of the Trigger Date, the 24-month anniversary of the Trigger Date and the 36-month anniversary of the Trigger Date.

 

In addition, we provide Cramer Digital with a marketing budget, access to personnel and support services, and production facilities. Finally, the Cramer Agreement provides that we will reimburse fifty percent of the cost of the rented office space by Cramer Digital, up to a maximum of $4,250 per month.

 

The Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement

 

On June 14, 2019, we entered into a licensing agreement (the “Initial Licensing Agreement”), as amended by Amendment No. 1 to Licensing Agreement, dated September 1, 2019 (the “SI First Amendment”), Amendment No. 2 to Licensing Agreement, dated April 1, 2020 (the “SI Second Amendment”), Amendment No. 3 to Licensing Agreement, dated July 28, 2020 (the “SI Third Amendment”), Amendment No. 4 to Licensing Agreement, dated June 4, 2021 (the “SI Fourth Amendment”), and Side Letter, dated as of June 4, 2021 (the “SI Side Letter” and, together with the Initial Licensing Agreement, SI First Amendment, the SI Second Amendment, the SI Third Amendment, and the SI Fourth Amendment, the “Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement”) with ABG-SI LLC (“ABG”), a Delaware limited liability company and indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Authentic Brands Group, pursuant to which we have the exclusive right and license in the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand to operate the Sports Illustrated (“Sports Illustrated”) media business (in the English and Spanish languages), including to (i) operate the digital and print editions of Sports Illustrated (including all special interest issues and the swimsuit issue) and Sports Illustrated for Kids, (ii) develop new digital media channels under the Sports Illustrated brands, and (iii) operate certain related businesses, including without limitation, special interest publications, video channels, bookazines, and the licensing and/or syndication of certain products and content under the Sports Illustrated brand (collectively, the “Sports Illustrated Licensed Brands”).

 

The initial term of the Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement commenced on October 4, 2019 upon the termination of the Meredith License Agreement (as defined below) and continues through December 31, 2029. We have the option, subject to certain conditions, to renew the term of the Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement for nine consecutive renewal terms of 10 years each (collectively with the initial term, the “Term”), for a total of 100 years. The Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement provides that we will pay to ABG annual royalties in respect of each year of the Term based on gross revenues (“Royalties”) with guaranteed minimum annual amounts. On the execution of the Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement, we prepaid ABG $45,000,000 against future Royalties. ABG will pay to us a share of revenues relating to certain Sports Illustrated business lines not licensed to us, such as all gambling-related advertising and monetization, events, and commerce. The two companies are partnering in building the brand worldwide.

 

6
 

 

Pursuant to a publicly announced agreement, dated May 24, 2019, between ABG and Meredith Corporation (“Meredith”), an Iowa corporation, Meredith previously operated the Sports Illustrated Licensed Brands under license from ABG (the “Meredith License Agreement”). On October 3, 2019, we, and Meredith entered into a Transition Services Agreement and an Outsourcing Agreement (collectively, the “Transition Agreement”), whereby the parties agreed to the terms and conditions under which Meredith continued to operate certain aspects of the business, and provided certain services during the fourth quarter of 2019 as all activities were transitioned over to us. Through these agreements, we took over operating control of the Sports Illustrated Licensed Brands, and the Transition Agreement was terminated.

 

Merger of Subsidiaries

 

On December 19, 2019, our wholly owned subsidiaries, Maven Coalition 1 and HubPages, were merged into another of our wholly owned subsidiaries, Say Media. On January 6, 2020, Say Media changed its name to Maven Coalition, Inc. (the “Maven Coalition”).

 

Asset Acquisition of Petametrics Inc.

 

On March 9, 2020, we entered into an asset purchase agreement with Petametrics Inc., doing business as LiftIgniter, a Delaware corporation (“LiftIgniter”), and Maven Coalition, whereby Maven Coalition purchased substantially all the assets of LiftIgniter’s machine learning platform, which personalizes content and product recommendations in real-time. The purchased assets included LiftIgniter’s intellectual property and excluded certain accounts receivable. Maven Coalition also assumed certain of LiftIgniter’s liabilities. The purchase price consisted of: (i) a cash payment of $184,087 on February 19, 2020, in connection with the repayment of certain of its outstanding indebtedness; (ii) a cash payment at closing of $131,202; (iii) collections of certain accounts receivable; (iv) on the first anniversary date of the closing issuance of restricted stock units for an aggregate of up to 312,500 shares of our common stock; and (v) on the second anniversary date of the closing issuance of restricted stock units for an aggregate of up to 312,500 shares of our common stock.

 

Acquisition of College Spun Media Incorporation

 

On June 4, 2021, we entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement (the “CS Purchase Agreement”) with Maven Media Brands, LLC, our wholly owned subsidiary (“Maven Media”), College Spun Media Incorporated (“The Spun”), and it shareholders, (the “Seller Parties”), pursuant to which, Maven Media acquired all of the issued and outstanding shares of capital stock of The Spun (“The Spun Stock”).

 

Pursuant to the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the CS Purchase Agreement, in exchange for The Spun Stock, Maven Media agreed to pay a purchase price, comprised of a cash payment of an aggregate of $11 million (the “Cash Payment”) and the issuance of an aggregate of 4,285,714 restricted shares of our common stock (the “Stock Payment”), with one-half of the shares vesting on the first anniversary of the closing date and the remaining one-half of the shares vesting on the second anniversary of the closing date. The Cash Payment will be paid as follows: (i) on the closing date, a cash payment of $10 million; (ii) on the first anniversary of the closing date, a cash payment of $500,000; and (iii) on the second anniversary of the closing date, a cash payment of $500,000. The Cash Payment is subject to a customary working capital adjustment based on cash and accounts receivable targets of The Spun as of the closing. Further, the vesting of the Stock Payment held by the Seller Parties is subject to the continued employment of certain senior executives of The Spun.

 

Corporate Offices

 

Our executive offices are located at 225 Liberty Street, 27th Floor, New York, New York 10281. At our California and Seattle locations, we carry out the software development and other operational activities. Our current telephone number is (775) 600-2765.

 

7
 

 

Capital Restructuring

 

On October 11, 2016, Integrated and Maven Network entered into the Share Exchange Agreement that provided for each outstanding share of common stock of Maven Network to be converted into 4.13607 shares of our common stock (the “Exchange Ratio”), and for each outstanding warrant and stock option to purchase shares of common stock of Maven Network be cancelled in exchange for a warrant or stock option to purchase shares of our common stock-based on the Exchange Ratio (the “Recapitalization”).

 

On November 4, 2016, the consummation of the Recapitalization became effective and pursuant to the Recapitalization, we: (i) issued to the stockholders of Maven Network an aggregate of 9,533,355 shares of our common stock; and (ii) issued to MDB Capital Group, LLC (“MDB”), as an advisory fee, warrants to purchase 1,169,607 shares of our common stock. Existing stock options to purchase 175,000 shares of our common stock were assumed pursuant to the Recapitalization.

 

The Maven Technology Platform

 

We developed the Maven Platform, a proprietary online publishing platform that provides our owned and operated media businesses, Publisher Partners, whom are third parties producing and publishing content on their own domains, and individual creators contributing content to our owned and operated sites (“Expert Contributors”), the ability to produce and manage editorially focused content through tools and services provided by us. We have also developed proprietary advertising technology, techniques and relationships that allow us, our Publisher Partners and Expert Contributors to monetize online, editorially focused content through various display and video advertisements and tools and services for driving a subscription or membership based business and other monetization services (the “Monetization Solutions” and, together with the Maven Platform, the “Maven Platform Services”).

 

The Maven Platform comprises state-of-the-art publishing tools, video platforms, commenting features, social distribution channels, newsletter technology, machine learning content recommendations, notifications and other technology, that deliver a complete set of features to drive a digital media business in an entirely cloud-based suite of services. Our software engineering and product development teams are experienced at delivering these services at scale. We continue to develop the Maven Platform software by combining proprietary code with components from the open-source community, plus select commercial services as well as identifying, acquiring, and integrating other platform technologies, where we see unique long-term benefits to us.

 

The Maven Platform Services include:

 

  1. Content management, machine learning driven content recommendations, traffic redistribution, hosting and bandwidth;
  2. Video publishing, hosting, and player solution via an integrated set of third-party providers;
  3.

Dashboards for our Publisher Partners as well as integration with leading analytics services like Google Analytics;

  4. Digital subscriptions and membership with paywalls, exclusive member access, and metering, credit card processing and reporting;
  5. User account management;
  6. User account migration to platform, including emails and membership data;
  7. Technical support team to train and support our Publisher Partners and staff (if applicable) on the Maven Platform;
  8.

Advertising serving, trafficking/insertion orders, yield management, and reporting and collection;

  9. Dedicated customer service and sales center to assist our Publisher Partners with customer support, sign-ups, cancellations, and “saves”;

 

8
 

 

  10. Services for maintaining evergreen content to Expert Contributors;
  11. Various syndication integrations (e.g., Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP, Google news, and RSS feeds);
  12. Structured data objects (i.e., structured elements such as recipes or products); and
  13

Other features, as they may be added to the Maven Platform from time to time.

 

Our Platform Partners use the Maven Platform Services to produce, manage, host and monetize their content in accordance with the terms and conditions of partner agreements between each of our Publisher Partners and us (the “Partnership Agreements”). Pursuant to the Partnership Agreements, we and our Publisher Partners split revenue generated from the Maven Platform Services used in connection with the Publisher Partner’s content based on certain metrics such as whether the revenue was from direct sales, was generated by our Publisher Partner or us, was generated in connection with a subscription or a membership, was based on standalone or bundled subscriptions or whether the revenue was derived from affiliate links.

 

Subject to the terms and conditions of each Partnership Agreement and in exchange for the Maven Platform Services, our Publisher Partners grant us, for so long as our Publisher Partner’s assets are hosted on the Maven Platform, (i) exclusive control of ads.txt with respect to our Publisher Partner’s domains and (ii) the exclusive right to include our Publisher Partner’s website domains and related URLs in our coalition in a consolidated listing assembled by third party measurement companies such as comScore, Nielsen and/or other similar measuring services selected by us. As such, the Maven Platform serves as the primary digital media and social platform with respect to each of our Publisher Partners’ website domains during the applicable term of each Partnership Agreement.

 

Our Brands and Growth Strategy

 

Our growth strategy is to continue to expand the coalition by adding new Publisher Partners in key verticals that management believes will expand the scale of unique users interacting on the Maven Platform. In each vertical, we seek to build around a leading brand, such as Sports Illustrated (for sports) and TheStreet (for finance), surround it with subcategory specialists, and further enhance coverage with individual expert contributors. The primary means of expansion is adding independent Publisher Partners and/or acquiring publishers that have premium branded content and can broaden the reach and impact of the Maven Platform.

 

Maven

 

We operate a best-in-class technology platform empowering premium publishers who impact, inform, educate, and entertain. We operate the media businesses for Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, and power more than 250 independent brands. These brands range from niche media businesses to world-leading independent publishers, operating on the Maven Platform, a shared digital publishing, monetization, and distribution platform.

 

Sports Illustrated

 

We assumed management of certain Sports Illustrated media assets (pursuant to the Sports Illustrated License Agreement) on October 4, 2019. Sports Illustrated is owned by ABG, a brand development, marketing, and entertainment company that owns a global portfolio of media, entertainment, and lifestyle brands. Since assuming management of the Sports Illustrated media assets, we have implemented significant changes to rebuild the historic brand and beacon of sports journalism, to evolve and expand the business, and to position it for growth and continued success going forward.

 

9
 

 

TheStreet and Cramer Digital

 

TheStreet is a leading financial news and information provider to investors and institutions worldwide and has produced business news and market analysis for individual investors for more than 20 years. TheStreet brings its editorial tradition, strong subscription platform, and valuable membership base to us, and benefits from our mobile-friendly CMS, social, video, and monetization technology.

 

Finance and stock market expert Jim Cramer, who co-founded TheStreet, and his team of financial experts continue their influential work with the brand. As part of the closing of the TheStreet Merger, we entered into the Cramer Agreement with Mr. Cramer, pursuant to which Mr. Cramer and his production company, Cramer Digital, provides the Cramer Services, including certain content offerings under Mr. Cramer’s editorial control. On April 6, 2021, Cramer Digital notified us that it would cancel the optional third year of the term of the Cramer Agreement and we and Cramer Digital commenced negotiation of a new contract. On August 7, 2021, we entered into an extension of the Cramer Agreement to provide Mr. Cramer's services through September 30, 2021. Further, we are in discussions about an ongoing relationship.

 

HubPages

 

We acquired HubPages to enhance the user’s experience by increasing content, including from Expert Contributors. HubPages operates a network of 28 premium content channels that act as an open community for writers, explorers, knowledge seekers, and conversation starters to connect in an interactive and informative online space. HubPages operates in the United States.

 

Say Media

 

We acquired Say Media to enhance the user’s experience by increasing content. Now fully integrated into the Maven Platform, Say Media’s technology provides a comprehensive online media publishing platform and enables brand advertisers to engage today’s social media consumer through rich advertising experiences across its network of web properties. Say Media operated in the United States and previously maintained subsidiaries located in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

 

LiftIgniter

 

LiftIgniter provides a distribution and recommendation engine for premium publishers. The LiftIgniter platform connects users efficiently to hundreds of professional content creators, with custom recommendations of content aligned with users’ personal passions. Aided by machine-learning technology, publishers can identify and target those interested in their content. LiftIgniter activates the value of hosting hundreds of premium journalists on a single platform by interconnecting them through unified content distribution.

 

The Spun

 

The Spun (thespun.com), founded in September of 2012, is an independent sports publication that brings readers the most interesting athletic stories of the day. The Spun reaches approximately 15 million unique readers per month and focuses on the social media aspect of the industry.

 

Intellectual Property

 

We have seven patent registrations in the United States in connection with our technology. All of our patent registrations are owned by Maven Coalition.

 

Maven and Key Design

 

We currently have trademark registrations directed to our primary key design logo and the MAVEN name in the United States, Australia, China, the European Union (the “EU”), the United Kingdom, India, Japan, and New Zealand, as well as international Madrid Protocol registrations. We have trademark applications directed to our primary key design logo and the MAVEN name pending in Canada.

 

Moreover, we have a United States trademark registration for the word mark MAVEN COALITION, trademark registrations in the EU and the United Kingdom for the word mark THEMAVEN, and a United States trademark registration for the word mark A MAVEN CHANNEL. We have trademark registrations for the work mark A MAVEN CHANNEL in Australia, the EU, and the United Kingdom, and applications for the word mark A MAVEN CHANNEL pending in Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand, as well as an international Madrid Protocol registration.

 

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We have trademark registrations for the word marks BULL MARKET FANTASY, LIFTIGNITOR, SAY DAILY, SAY MEDIA, STREETLIGHTNING, AND TEMPEST in the United States and a trademark application for BULL MARKET FANTASY pending in Canada. We have trademark applications for the word marks THE ARENA, THE ARENA GROUP, AND SPORTSLIGHTNING pending in the United States.

 

TheStreet

 

We have trademark registrations for the word marks THESTREET and THESTREET.COM, and for the related THE STREET design mark in the United States. We have trademark registrations for the word marks ACTION ALERTS PLUS, ALPHA RISING, BANKING MY WAY, INCOME SEEKER, and REALMONEY in the United States, and a trademark registration for MAIN ST and design mark in the United States.

 

HubPages

 

We have trademark registrations for the word mark HUBPAGES in the United States, Australia, China, the EU, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, India, Peru, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Philippines, as well as an international Madrid Protocol registration.

 

We continue to file updated trademark applications to reflect our branding evolution and intend to continue strengthening our trademark portfolio as financial resources permit.

 

Our Publisher Partners and Licensing

 

In connection with our Partnership Agreements and any other applicable agreements between us and our Publisher Partners, (i) we and our affiliates own and retain (a) all right, title, and interest in and to the Maven Platform, Monetization Solutions and data collected by us, and (b) we and our licensors’ trademarks and branding and all software and technology we use to provide and operate the Maven Platform and Monetization Solutions, and (ii) each Publisher Partner owns and retains (a) all right, title, and interest in and to the Publisher Partner’s assets, content, and data collected by Publisher Partner and (b) each Publisher Partner’s trademarks and branding.

 

Seasonality

 

We expect to experience typical media company advertising and membership sales seasonality, which is strong in the fiscal fourth quarter and slower in the fiscal first quarter.

 

Competition

 

Currently, we believe that there are dozens of competitors delivering niche media content on the web and on mobile devices and an even broader array of general media companies and major media brands. All those competitors use mobile alerts, invest heavily in video, and leverage social media. We believe that we have developed distribution, production, and technology tactics that are superior because our management team’s tactics in the past with prior companies have proven to be highly engaging and effective for our particular model, which organizes channels into interest groups, led by key brands, such as Sports Illustrated in the sports vertical and TheStreet in the finance vertical.

 

The web provides unlimited access to the market by niche or general media companies, so there are a large number and variety of direct competitors of ours competing for audience and ad and membership dollars. The general business of online media, combined with some level or method of leveraging community attracts many potential entrants, and in the future, there may be strong competitors that will compete with us in general or in selected markets. These and other companies may be better financed and be able to develop their markets more quickly and penetrate those market more effectively. The following is a list of possible competitors and their respective categories:

 

  Vice, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, et al. – niche content, leverages social, mobile, and video, and competes for ad dollars;

 

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  Fortune, CNN, ESPN, Yahoo!, Google, et al. – general content, major media companies, and competes for ad dollars;
     
  WordPress, Medium, RebelMouse, Arc – content management software, open to all including experts and professionals, and competes for publishers;
     
  Leaf Group Ltd. and Future PLC – competes for partners and ad dollars;
     
  YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit – social platforms open to all including experts and professionals; and
     
  Affiliate networks such as Liberty Alliance – competes for ad dollars.

 

We believe that we compete on the basis of our technology, substantial scale in traffic, ease of use, recognized lead media brands, and platform evolution through a continuing development and acquisition program. We believe that our scale, methods, technology and experience enable us to compete for a material amount of market share of media dollars and membership revenue.

 

Government Regulations

 

Our operations are subject to a number of United States federal and state laws and regulations that involve privacy, rights of publicity, data protection, content regulation, intellectual property, or other subjects. Many of these laws and regulations are still evolving and being tested in courts and could be interpreted in ways that could harm our business. In addition, the application and interpretation of these laws and regulations often are uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate.

 

A number of government authorities, both in the United States and abroad, and private parties are increasing their focus on privacy issues and the use of personal information. All states have enacted some form of data privacy legislation, including data security and breach notification laws in all 50 states, and some form of regulation regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal information at the federal level and in several states. California has been the most active in the area of consumer privacy legislation, including passing a comprehensive law requiring transparency, access, and choice known as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “CCPA”), which was amended in November 2020 by a ballot measure known as the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”). The CCPA went into effect January 1, 2020, with enforcement having begun in June 2020. The CPRA goes into effect over time, with enforcement to begin July 2023. Other states are also considering comprehensive consumer privacy legislation. Certain states have also enacted legislation requiring certain encryption technologies for the storage and transmission of personally identifiable information, including credit card information, and more states are considering laws for or have enacted laws about information security, which may require the adoption of written information security policies that are consistent with state laws if businesses have personal information of residents of those states. Data privacy and information security legislation is also being considered at the federal level, concerning the privacy of individuals and use of internet and marketing information. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and attorneys general in several states have oversight of business operations concerning the use of personal information and breaches of the privacy laws under existing consumer protection laws. In particular, an attorney general or the FTC may examine privacy policies to ensure that a company discloses all material practices and fully complies with representations in the policies regarding the manner in which the information provided by consumers and other visitors to a website is used and disclosed by it, and the failure to do so could give rise to a complaint under state or federal unfair competition or consumer protection laws. The California Attorney General has begun aggressively investigating companies, especially those with websites, with respect to CCPA compliance and these investigations reportedly include inquiries into issues for which there has not yet been clear guidance issued by the state, such as regarding third party cookies that collect personal information from users when they visit our and other websites.

 

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We review our privacy policies and overall operations on a regular basis to ensure compliance with applicable United States federal and state laws, and to the extent applicable, any foreign laws. We launched a CCPA compliance program in January 2020 and at the end of 2020 reviewed the program and made adjustments to our privacy notice and compliance program practices to account for our evolving practices and the new CCPA regulations, which were promulgated in July 2020 and continue to be subject to ongoing rulemaking. We believe the position we take regarding various CCPA issues, including third party cookies, is based on sound and good faith interpretations of the law based on consultation with legal counsel. However, there are conflicting interpretations of the law that have been adopted by various parties in the digital media industry, and given the lack of guidance to date on many of these issues, our compliance posture on some issues might not be accepted by the State of California.

 

In addition to the laws of the United States, we may be subject to foreign laws regulating web sites and online services, and the laws in some jurisdictions outside of the United States are stricter than the laws in the United States. For instance, in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) went into effect in the EU and European Economic Area and Switzerland. The GDPR includes operational requirements for companies that receive or process personal data of residents of the EU that include significant penalties for non-compliance. In addition, some EU countries are considering or have passed legislation implementing additional data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of personal data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services. How the GDPR will be fully applied to online services, including cookies and digital advertising, is still being determined through ongoing rulemaking and evolving interpretation by applicable authorities. We operate a GDPR compliance program that we believe, based on our good faith interpretation of the GDPR in consultation with counsel, is consistent with our obligations under that law. The highest court in the EU recently ruled that the United States/EU Privacy Shield was inadequate under GDPR and questioned the viability or legality of any EU to United States personal data transfer methods. We are working to address this issue, for instance, including standard contractual clauses as part of our Data Processing Agreements, and we continue to monitor the development of EU to United States personal data transfer methods and the law relating thereto.

 

Social networking websites are under increasing scrutiny. Legislation has been introduced on the state and federal level that could regulate social networking websites. Some rules call for more stringent age-verification techniques, attempt to mandate data retention or data destruction by Internet providers, and impose civil and/or criminal penalties on owners or operators of social networking websites.

 

The FTC regularly considers issues relating to online behavioral advertising (a/k/a interest-based advertising), which is a significant revenue source for us, and Congress and state legislatures are frequently asked to regulate this type of advertising, including requiring consumers to provide express consent for tracking purposes, so that advertisers may know their interests and are, therefore, able to serve them more relevant, targeted ads. Targeted ads generate higher per impression fees than non-targeted ads. New laws, or new interpretations of existing laws, could potentially place restrictions on our ability to utilize our database and other marketing data (e.g., from third parties) on our own behalf and on behalf of our advertising clients, which may adversely affect our business.

 

Legislation concerning the above described online activities has either been enacted or is in various stages of development and implementation in other countries around the world and could affect our ability to make our websites available in those countries as future legislation is made effective. It is possible that state and foreign governments might also attempt to regulate our transmissions of content on our website or prosecute us for violations of their laws. United States law offers limited safe harbors and immunities to publishers for certain liability arising out of user-posted content, but other countries do not. Further, there are a number of legislative proposals in the United States, and internationally, that could impose new obligations in areas affecting our business, such as liability for copyright infringement by third parties and liability for defamation or other claims arising out of user-posted content. Our business could be negatively impacted if applicable laws subject us to greater regulation or risk of liability.

 

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Our business could also be adversely affected if regulatory enforcement authorities, such as the California Attorney General or EU/EEA data protection authorities, take issue with any of our approaches to compliance, or if new laws, regulations or decisions regarding the collection, storage, transmission, use and/or disclosure of personal information are implemented in such ways that impose new or additional technology requirements on us, limit our ability to collect, transmit, store and use or disclose the information, or if government authorities or private parties challenge our data privacy and/or security practices that result in liability to, or restrictions, on us, or we experience a significant data or information breach which would require public disclosure under existing notification laws and for which we may be liable for damages and/or penalties.

 

Furthermore, governments of applicable jurisdictions might attempt to regulate our transmissions or levy sales or other taxes relating to our activities even though we do not have a physical presence and/or operate in those jurisdictions. As our platforms, products and advertisement activities are available over the Internet anywhere in the world, multiple jurisdictions may claim that we are required to qualify to do business as a foreign corporation in each of those jurisdictions and pay various taxes in those jurisdictions. We address state and local jurisdictions where we believe we have nexus, however, there can be no assurance that we have complied with all jurisdictions that may assert that we owe taxes.

 

Employees

 

Our total number of employees as of June 30, 2021 was 328, of which 290 were full-time employees.

 

Available Information

 

Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13 of the Exchange Act, are available free of charge after we electronically file or furnish them to the SEC. The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

There are numerous factors that affect our business and operating results, many of which are beyond our control. The following is a description of significant factors that might cause our future results to differ materially from those currently expected. The risks described below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also affect our business operations. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and/or our ability to pay our debts and other liabilities could suffer. As a result, the trading price and liquidity of our securities could decline, perhaps significantly, and you could lose all or part of your investment. The risks discussed below also include forward-looking statements and our actual results may differ substantially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. See the section entitled “Cautionary Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS AND OUR FINANCIAL CONDITION

 

Our business operations have been and may continue to be materially and adversely affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”). An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19 emerged in late 2019 and has spread globally. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic based on the rapid increase in global exposure. COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world. Many national governments and sports authorities around the world made the decision to postpone/cancel high attendance sports events in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, many governments and businesses limited non-essential work activity, furloughed, and/or terminated many employees and closed some operations and/or locations, all of which has had a negative impact on the economic environment.

 

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Beginning in March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our revenue and earnings began to decline largely due to the cancellation of high attendance sports events and the resulting decrease in traffic to the Maven Platform and advertising revenue. This initial decrease in revenue and earnings were partially offset by revenues generated by TheStreet, as well as some recovery of sporting events (including, in some cases, limited in-person attendance) that have generated content for the Sports Illustrated Licensed Brands. Through the spring of 2021, we have increasingly seen sports leagues and events return to pre-pandemic scheduling, as well as additional lifting of restrictions on in-person attendance at sporting events, which have continued to result in some recovery of our operational and financial performance. Despite this initial recovery, the future impact, or continued impact, from the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain.

 

The extent of the impact on our operational and financial performance will depend, in part, on future developments, including the duration and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, related group gathering and sports event advisories and restrictions, and the extent and effectiveness of containment actions taken, all of which remain uncertain at the time of issuance of our accompanying consolidated financial statements.

 

These and other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, or other pandemics or epidemics, could have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this Annual Report under the “Risk Factors” section.

 

Because of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty about their persistence, we may need to raise more capital to continue operations. At December 31, 2020, we had cash of approximately $9.0 million. From January 1, 2021 through the issuance date of our accompany consolidated financial statements, we raised aggregate net proceeds of approximately $19.6 million through private placements of our common stock, of which approximately $11 million was applied to the cash portion of the purchase of The Spun. As of the date our accompanying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 were issued or were available to be issued, we had cash of approximately $7.5 million. Please refer to Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, under the section entitled “Future Liquidity,” for additional information. We have seen stabilization in our markets since May of 2020 and believe that based on our current assessment of the impact of COVID-19, we have sufficient resources to fully fund our business operations through 12 months from the issuance date of our accompanying consolidated financial statements. However, due to the continuing uncertainty regarding the duration of the impact of COVID-19 and its effect on our financial performance and the potential that our traffic and advertising revenue becomes destabilized again, we may require additional capital. We have not had difficulties accessing the capital markets during 2020 and 2021, however, due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we may experience difficulties in the future.

 

As market conditions present uncertainty as to our ability to secure additional capital, there can be no assurances that we will be able to secure additional financing on acceptable terms, or at all, as and when necessary to continue to conduct operations. Our future liquidity and capital requirements will depend upon numerous factors, including the success of our offerings and competing technological and market developments. We may need to raise funds through public or private financings, strategic relationships, or other arrangements. There can be no assurance that such funding, will be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all. Furthermore, any equity financing will be dilutive to existing stockholders, and debt financing, if available, may involve restrictive covenants that may limit our operating flexibility with respect to certain business matters. Strategic arrangements may require us to relinquish our rights or grant licenses to some or substantial parts of our intellectual property. If funds are raised through the issuance of equity securities, the percentage ownership of our stockholders will be reduced, stockholders may experience additional dilution in net book value per share, and such equity securities may have rights, preferences, or privileges senior to those of the holders of our existing capital stock. If adequate funds are not available on acceptable terms, we may not be able to continue operating, develop or enhance products, take advantage of future opportunities or respond to competitive pressures, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

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We have incurred losses since our inception, have yet to achieve profitable operations, and anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. We have had losses from inception, and as a result, have relied on capital funding or borrowings to fund our operations. Our accumulated deficit as of December 31, 2020 was approximately $162.1 million. We have not issued our financial statements for any periods during fiscal 2021. While we anticipate generating positive cash flow in fiscal 2021, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic yields some doubt as to our ability to do so and could require us to raise additional capital. We cannot predict whether we will be able to continue to find capital to support our business plan if the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue longer than anticipated.

 

We identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. If we do not adequately address these material weaknesses or if other material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting are discovered, our financial statements could contain material misstatements and our business, operations and stock price may be adversely affected. As disclosed under Item 9A, Controls and Procedures, of this Annual Report, our management has identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting at December 31, 2020 and we expect to continue to have material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting at March 31, 2021, June 30, 2021 and September 30, 2021. We expect to have remediated our material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting by December 31, 2021, of which there can be no assurance. Under standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Although no material misstatement of our historical financial statements was identified, the existence of these material weaknesses or significant deficiencies could result in material misstatements in our financial statements and we could be required to restate our financial statements. Further, significant costs and resources may be needed to remediate the identified material weaknesses or any other material weaknesses or internal control deficiencies. If we are unable to remediate, evaluate, and test our internal controls on a timely basis in the future, management will be unable to conclude that our internal controls are effective and our independent registered public accounting firm will be unable to express an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of our internal controls. If we cannot produce reliable financial reports, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting, the price of our common stock could be adversely impacted and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

As of the date of filing this Annual Report, we currently lack certain internal controls over our financial reporting. While we have three independent directors serving on our board of directors (our “Board”), have added to our accounting staff, and have hired a new Chief Technology Officer, we are implementing such controls at this time. The lack of such controls makes it difficult to ensure that information required to be disclosed in our reports filed and submitted under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized, and reported as and when required.

 

We cannot assure you that we will be able to develop and implement the necessary internal controls over financial reporting. The absence of such internal controls may inhibit investors from purchasing our shares and may make it more difficult for us to raise debt or equity financing.

 

If we fail to retain current users or add new users, or if our users decrease their level of engagement with the Maven Platform, our business would be seriously harmed. The success of our business heavily depends on the size of our user base and the level of engagement of our users. Thus, our business performance will also become increasingly dependent on our ability to increase levels of user engagement in existing and new markets. We are continuously subject to a highly competitive market in order to attract and retain our users’ attention. A number of factors could negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if:

 

  users increasingly engage with competing platforms instead of ours;
     
  we fail to introduce new and exciting products and services, or such products and services do not achieve a high level of market acceptance;
     
  we fail to accurately anticipate consumer needs, or we fail to innovate and develop new software and products that meet these needs;

 

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  we fail to price our products competitively;
     
  we do not provide a compelling user experience because of the decisions we make regarding the type and frequency of advertisements that we display;
     
  we are unable to combat spam, bugs, malwares, viruses, hacking, or other hostile or inappropriate usage on our products;
     
  there are changes in user sentiment about the quality or usefulness of our existing products in the short-term, long-term, or both;
     
  there are increased user concerns related to privacy and information sharing, safety, or security;
     
  there are adverse changes in our products or services that are mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or legal proceedings;
     
  technical or other problems frustrate the user experience, particularly if those problems prevent us from delivering our products in a fast and reliable manner;
     
  we, our Publisher Partners, or other companies in our industry are the subject of adverse media reports or other negative publicity, some of which may be inaccurate or include confidential information that we are unable to correct or retract; or
     
  we fail to maintain our brand image or our reputation is damaged.

 

Any decrease in user retention, growth, or engagement could render our products less attractive to users, advertisers, or our Publisher Partners, thereby reducing our revenues from them, which may have a material and adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will succeed in developing products and services that eventually become widely accepted, that we will be able to timely release products and services that are commercially viable, or that we will establish ourselves as a successful player in a new business area. Our inability to do so would have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The market in which we participate is intensely competitive, and if we do not compete effectively, our operating results could be harmed. The digital media industry is fragmented and highly competitive. There are many players in the digital media market, many with greater name recognition and financial resources, which may give them a competitive advantage. Some of our current and potential competitors have substantially greater financial, technical, marketing, distribution, and other resources than we do. Our competitors may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than we can to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards, customer, and user requirements and trends. In addition, our customers and strategic partners may become competitors in the future. Certain of our competitors may be able to negotiate alliances with strategic partners on more favorable terms than we are able to negotiate. Pricing pressures and increased competition generally could result in reduced sales, reduced margins, losses, or the failure of the Maven Platform to achieve or maintain more widespread market acceptance, any of which could adversely affect our revenues and operating results. With the introduction of new technologies, the evolution of the Maven Platform, and new market entrants, we expect competition to intensify in the future.

 

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We may have difficulty managing our growth. We have added, and expect to continue to add, publisher partner and end-user support capabilities, to continue software development activities, and to expand our administrative operations. In the past two years, we have entered into multiple strategic transactions. These strategic transactions, which have significantly expanded our business, have and are expected to place a significant strain on our managerial, operational, and financial resources. To manage any further growth, we will be required to improve existing, and implement new, operational, customer service, and financial systems, procedures and controls and expand, train, and manage our growing employee base. We also will be required to expand our finance, administrative, technical, and operations staff. There can be no assurance that our current and planned personnel, systems, procedures, and controls will be adequate to support our anticipated growth, that management will be able to hire, train, retain, motivate, and manage required personnel or that our management will be able to successfully identify, manage and exploit existing and potential market opportunities. If we are unable to manage growth effectively, our business could be harmed.

 

The strategic relationships that we may be able to develop and on which we may come to rely may not be successful. We will seek to develop strategic relationships with advertising, media, technology, and other companies to enhance the efforts of our market penetration, business development, and advertising sales revenues. These relationships are expected to, but may not, succeed. There can be no assurance that these relationships will develop and mature, or that potential competitors will not develop more substantial relationships with attractive partners. Our inability to successfully implement our strategy of building valuable strategic relationships could harm our business.

 

We rely heavily on our ability to collect and disclose data and metrics in order to attract new advertisers and retain existing advertisers. Any restriction, whether by law, regulation, policy, or other reason, on our ability to collect and disclose data that our advertisers find useful would impede our ability to attract and retain advertisers. Our advertising revenue could be seriously harmed by many other factors, including:

 

  a decrease in the number of active users of the Maven Platform;

 

  our inability to create new products that sustain or increase the value of our advertisements;

 

  our inability to increase the relevance of targeted advertisements shown to users;

 

  adverse legal developments relating to advertising, including changes mandated by legislation, regulation, or litigation; and

 

  difficulty and frustration from advertisers who may need to reformat or change their advertisements to comply with our guidelines.

 

The occurrence of any of these or other factors could result in a reduction in demand for advertisements, which may reduce the prices we receive for our advertisements or cause advertisers to stop advertising with us altogether, either of which would negatively affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The sales and payment cycle for online advertising is long, and such sales, which have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, may not occur when anticipated or at all. The decision process is typically lengthy for brand advertisers and sponsors to commit to online campaigns. Some of their budgets are planned a full year in advance. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the amount and pricing of advertising throughout the media industry and it is uncertain when and to what extent advertisers will return to more normal spending levels. The decision process for such purchases, even in normal business situations, is subject to delays and aspects that are beyond our control. In addition, some advertisers and sponsors take months after the campaign runs to pay, and some may not pay at all, or require partial “make-goods” based on performance.

 

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We are dependent on the continued services and on the performance of our key executive officers, management team, and other key personnel, the loss of which could adversely affect our business. Our future success largely depends upon the continued services of our key executive officers, management team, and other key personnel. The loss of the services of any of such key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition. We depend on the continued services of our key personnel as they work closely with both our employees and our Publisher Partners. Such key personnel are also responsible for our day-to-day operations. Although we have employment agreements with some of our key personnel, these are at-will employment agreements, albeit with non-competition and confidentiality provisions and other rights typically associated with employment agreements. We do not believe that any of our executive officers are planning to leave or retire in the near term; however, we cannot assure that our executive officers or members of our management team will remain with us. We also depend on our ability to identify, attract, hire, train, retain, and motivate other highly skilled technical, managerial, sales, operational, business development, and customer service personnel. Competition for such personnel is intense, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully attract, assimilate, or retain sufficiently qualified personnel. The loss or limitation of the services of any of our executive officers, members of our management team, or key personnel, including our regional and country managers, or the inability to attract and retain additional qualified key personnel, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

 

We are dependent on the continued services and on the performance of key third party content contributors, the loss of which could adversely affect our business. We rely on content contributed by third party providers, which has in turn attracted users that drive advertising and subscription revenue. The loss of the services of any of such key contributors could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition. Although we have service agreements with some of our key contributors, many are short term in nature or have cancelation clauses in the agreements. We also depend on our ability to identify, attract, and retain, other highly skilled third-party content contributors. Competition for such contributors is intense, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully attract, assimilate, or retain them. The loss or limitation of the services of any of our key third party contributors, or the inability to attract and retain additional qualified key contributors, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

 

Our revenues could decrease if the Maven Platform does not continue to operate as intended. The Maven Platform performs complex functions and is vulnerable to undetected errors or unforeseen defects that could result in a failure to operate or inefficiency. There can be no assurance that errors and defects will not be found in current or new products or, if discovered, that we will be able to successfully correct them in a timely manner or at all. The occurrence of errors and defects could result in loss of or delay in revenue, loss of market share, increased development costs, diversion of development resources and injury to our reputation or damage to our efforts to expand brand awareness.

 

Interruptions or performance problems associated with our technology and infrastructure may adversely affect our business and operating results. Our growth will depend in part on the ability of our users and Publisher Partners to access the Maven Platform at any time and within an acceptable amount of time. We believe that the Maven Platform is proprietary and we rely on the expertise of members of our engineering, operations, and software development teams for their continued performance. It is possible that the Maven Platform may experience performance problems due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, introductions of new functionality, human or software errors, capacity constraints due to an overwhelming number of users accessing the Maven Platform software simultaneously, denial of service attacks, or other security related incidents. We may not be able to identify the cause or causes of any performance problems within an acceptable period of time. It may be that it will be difficult to maintain and/or improve our performance, especially during peak usage times and as the Maven Platform becomes more complex and our user traffic increases. If the Maven Platform software is unavailable or if our users are unable to access it within a reasonable amount of time or at all, our business would be negatively affected. Therefore, in the event of any of the factors described above, or certain other failures of our infrastructure, partner or user data may be permanently lost. Moreover, the Partnership Agreements with our Publisher Partners include service level standards that obligate us to provide credits or termination rights in the event of a significant disruption in the Maven Platform. To the extent that we do not effectively address capacity constraints, upgrade our systems as needed, and continually develop our technology and network architecture to accommodate actual and anticipated changes in technology, our business and operating results may be adversely affected.

 

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We operate our exclusive coalition of professional-managed online media channels on third party cloud platforms and data center hosting facilities. We rely on software and services licensed from, and cloud platforms provided by, third parties in order to offer our digital media services. Any errors or defects in third-party software or cloud platforms could result in errors in, or a failure of, our digital media services, which could harm our business. Any damage to, or failure of, these third-party systems generally could result in interruptions in the availability of our digital media services. As a result of this third-party reliance, we may experience the aforementioned issues, which could cause us to render credits or pay penalties, could cause our Publisher Partners to terminate their contractual arrangements with us, and could adversely affect our ability to grow our audience of unique visitors, all of which could reduce our ability to generate revenue. Our business would also be harmed if our users and potential users believe our product and services offerings are unreliable. In the event of damage to, or failure of, these third-party systems, we would need to identify alternative channels for the offering of our digital media services, which would consume substantial resources and may not be effective. We are also subject to certain standard terms and conditions with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud related to data storage purposes. These providers have broad discretion to change their terms of service and other policies with respect to us, and those changes may be unfavorable to us. Therefore, we believe that maintaining successful partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and other third-party suppliers is critical to our success.

 

Real or perceived errors, failures, or bugs in the Maven Platform could adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects. Because the Maven Platform is complex, undetected errors, failures, vulnerabilities, or bugs may occur, especially when updates are deployed. Despite testing by us, errors, failures, vulnerabilities, or bugs may not be found in the Maven Platform until after they are deployed to our customers. We expect from time to time to discover software errors, failures, vulnerabilities, and bugs in the Maven Platform and anticipate that certain of these errors, failures, vulnerabilities, and bugs will only be discovered and remediated after deployment to our Publisher Partners and used by subscribers. Real or perceived errors, failures, or bugs in our software could result in negative publicity, loss of or delay in market acceptance of the Maven Platform, loss of competitive position, or claims by our Publisher Partners or subscribers for losses sustained by them. In such an event, we may be required, or may choose, for customer relations or other reasons, to expend additional resources in order to help correct the problem.

 

Malware, viruses, hacking attacks, and improper or illegal use of the Maven Platform could harm our business and results of operations. Malware, viruses, and hacking attacks have become more prevalent in our industry and may occur on our systems in the future. Any security breach caused by hacking, which involves efforts to gain unauthorized access to information or systems, or to cause intentional malfunctions or loss or corruption of data, software, hardware, or other computer equipment, and the inadvertent transmission of computer viruses could harm our business, financial condition and operating results. Any failure to detect such attack and maintain performance, reliability, security and availability of products and technical infrastructure to the satisfaction of our users may also seriously harm our reputation and our ability to retain existing users and attract new users.

 

Our information technology systems are susceptible to a growing and evolving threat of cybersecurity risk. Any substantial compromise of our data security, whether externally or internally, or misuse of agent, customer, or employee data, could cause considerable damage to our reputation, cause the public disclosure of confidential information, and result in lost sales, significant costs, and litigation, which would negatively affect our financial position and results of operations. Although we maintain policies and processes surrounding the protection of sensitive data, which we believe to be adequate, there can be no assurances that we will not be subject to such claims in the future.

 

20
 

 

If we are unable to protect our intellectual property rights, our business could suffer. Our success significantly depends on our proprietary technology. We rely on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, employee and third-party non-disclosure and invention assignment agreements and other methods to protect our proprietary technology. However, these only afford limited protection, and unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of the Maven Platform’s features and functionality, or to use information that we consider proprietary or confidential. There can be no assurance that the Maven Platform will be protectable by patents, but if they are, any efforts to obtain patent protection that is not successful may harm our business in that others will be able to use our technologies. For example, previous disclosures or activities unknown at present may be uncovered in the future and adversely impact any patent rights that we may obtain. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent as do the laws of the United States. There can be no assurance that the steps taken by us to protect our proprietary rights will be adequate or that third parties will not infringe or misappropriate our trademarks, copyrights, and similar proprietary rights. If we resort to legal proceedings to enforce our intellectual property rights, those proceedings could be expensive and time-consuming and could distract our management from our business operations. Our business, profitability and growth prospects could be adversely affected if we fail to receive adequate protection of our proprietary rights.

 

We could be required to cease certain activities and/or incur substantial costs as a result of any claim of infringement of another party’s intellectual property rights. Some of our competitors, and other third parties, may own technology patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and website content, which they may use to assert claims against us. We cannot assure you that we will not become subject to claims that we have misappropriated or misused other parties’ intellectual property rights. Any claim or litigation alleging that we have infringed or otherwise violated intellectual property or other rights of third parties, with or without merit, and whether or not settled out of court or determined in our favor, could be time-consuming and costly to address and resolve, and could divert the time and attention of our management and technical personnel.

 

The results of any intellectual property litigation to which we might become a party may require us to do one or more of the following:

 

  cease making, selling, offering, or using technologies or products that incorporate the challenged intellectual property;

 

  make substantial payments for legal fees, settlement payments, or other costs or damages;

 

  obtain a license, which may not be available on reasonable terms, to sell or use the relevant technology; or

 

  redesign technology to avoid infringement.

 

If we are required to make substantial payments or undertake any of the other actions noted above as a result of any intellectual property infringement claims against us, such payments or costs could have a material adverse effect upon our business and financial results.

 

21
 

 

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, including privacy, data protection, and personal information, rights of publicity, content, intellectual property, advertising, marketing, distribution, data security, data retention and deletion, personal information, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, telecommunications, employee classification, product liability, taxation, economic or other trade prohibitions or sanctions, securities law compliance, and online payment services. The introduction of new products, expansion of our activities in certain jurisdictions, or other actions that we may take may subject us to additional laws, regulations, monetary penalties or other government scrutiny. In addition, foreign data protection, privacy, competition, and other laws and regulations can impose different obligations or be more restrictive than those in the United States. Many of these laws and regulations are still evolving and could be interpreted or applied in ways that could limit or harm our business, require us to make certain fundamental and potentially detrimental changes to the products and services we offer, or subject us to claims. For example, laws relating to the liability of providers of online services for activities of their users and other third-parties are currently being tested by a number of claims, including actions based on invasion of privacy and other torts, unfair competition, copyright, and trademark infringement, and other theories based on the nature and content of the materials searched, the ads posted, or the content provided by users. In addition, there have been calls by members of Congress, from both parties, to limit the scope of the current immunities and safe harbors afforded online publishers with regard to user content and communications under the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the federal Communications Decency Act. Any material reduction of those protections would make us more vulnerable to third party claims arising out of user content published by our online services.

 

These United States federal and state and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change, which could adversely affect our business. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices. Any change in legislation and regulations could affect our business. For example, regulatory or legislative actions affecting the manner in which we display content to our users or obtain consent to various practices could adversely affect user growth and engagement. Such actions could affect the manner in which we provide our services or adversely affect our financial results.

 

Furthermore, significant penalties could be imposed on us for failure to comply with various statutes or regulations. Violations may result from:

 

  ambiguity in statutes;

 

  regulations and related court decisions;

 

  the discretion afforded to regulatory authorities and courts interpreting and enforcing laws;

 

  new regulations affecting our business; and

 

  changes to, or interpretations of, existing regulations affecting our business.

 

While we prioritize ensuring that our business and compensation model are compliant, and that any product or income related claims are truthful and non-deceptive, we cannot be certain that the FTC or similar regulatory body in another country will not modify or otherwise amend its guidance, laws, or regulations or interpret in a way that would render our current practices inconsistent with the same.

 

22
 

 

Our services involve the storage and transmission of digital information; therefore, cybersecurity incidents, including those caused by unintentional errors and those intentionally caused by third parties, may expose us to a risk of loss, unauthorized disclosure or other misuse of this information, litigation liability and regulatory exposure, reputational harm and increased security costs. We and our third-party service providers experience cyber-attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. We expect to incur significant costs in ongoing efforts to detect and prevent cybersecurity-related incidents and these costs may increase in the event of an actual or perceived data breach or other cybersecurity incident. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased opportunities for cyber-criminals and the risk of potential cybersecurity incidents, as more companies and individuals work online. We cannot ensure that our efforts to prevent cybersecurity incidents will succeed. An actual or perceived breach of our cybersecurity could impact the market perception of the effectiveness of our cybersecurity controls. If our users or business partners, including our Publisher Partners, are harmed by such an incident, they could lose trust and confidence in us, decrease their use of our services or stop using them in entirely. We could also incur significant legal and financial exposure, including legal claims, higher transaction fees and regulatory fines and penalties, which in turn could have a material and adverse effect on our business, reputation and operating results. While our insurance policies include liability coverage for certain of these types of matters, a significant cybersecurity incident could subject us to liability or other damages that exceed our insurance coverage.

 

Prior employers of our employees may assert violations of past employment arrangements. Our employees are highly experienced, having worked in our industry for many years. Prior employers may try to assert that our employees are breaching restrictive covenants and other limitations imposed by past employment arrangements. We believe that all of our employees are free to work for us in their various capacities and have not breached past employment arrangements. Notwithstanding our care in our employment practices, a prior employer may assert a claim. Such claims will be costly to contest, highly disruptive to our work environment, and may be detrimental to our operations.

 

Our products may require availability of components or known technology from third parties and their non-availability can impede our growth. We license/buy certain technology integral to our products from third parties, including open-source and commercially available software. Our inability to acquire and maintain any third-party product licenses or integrate the related third-party products into our products in compliance with license arrangements, could result in delays in product development until equivalent products can be identified, licensed, and integrated. We also expect to require new licenses in the future as our business grows and technology evolves. We cannot provide assurance that these licenses will continue to be available to us on commercially reasonable terms, if at all.

 

Government regulations may increase our costs of doing business. The adoption or modification of laws or regulations relating to online media, communities, commerce, security and privacy could harm our business, operating results and financial condition by increasing our costs and administrative burdens. It may take years to determine whether and how existing laws such as those governing intellectual property, privacy, security, libel, consumer protection, and taxation apply. Laws and regulations directly applicable to Internet activities are becoming more diverse and prevalent in all global markets. We must comply with regulations in the United States, as well as any other regulations adopted by other countries where we may do business. The growth and development of Internet content, commerce and communities may prompt calls for more stringent consumer protection laws, privacy laws and data protection laws, both in the United States and abroad, as well as new laws governing the taxation of these activities. Compliance with any newly adopted laws may prove difficult for us and may harm our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

We may face lawsuits or incur liabilities in the future in connection with our businesses. In the future, we may face lawsuits or incur liabilities in connection with our businesses. For example, we could face claims relating to information that is published or made available on the Maven Platform. In particular, the nature of our business exposes us to claims related to defamation, intellectual property rights and rights of publicity and privacy. We might not be able to monitor or edit a significant portion of the content that appears on the Maven Platform. This risk is enhanced in certain jurisdictions outside the United States where our protection from liability for third-party actions may be unclear and where we may be less protected under local laws than we are in the United States. We could also face fines or orders restricting or blocking our services in particular geographies as a result of content hosted on our services. If any of these events occur, our business could be seriously harmed.

 

23
 

 

RISKS RELATED TO AN INVESTMENT IN OUR SECURITIES

 

There may be no liquid market for our common stock. We provide no assurances of any kind or nature whatsoever that an active market for our common stock will ever develop. There has been no sustained activity in the market for our common stock. Investors should understand that there may be no alternative exit strategy for them to recover or liquidate their investments in our common stock. Accordingly, investors must be prepared to bear the entire economic risk of an investment in us for an indefinite period of time. Even if an active trading market develops over time, we cannot predict how liquid that market might become. Our common stock is quoted on the OTC Markets Group, Inc.’s (the “OTCM”) Pink Open Market (the “OTC Pink”). Trading in stock quoted on over-the-counter markets is often thin and characterized by wide fluctuations in trading prices, due to many factors that may have little to do with our operations or business prospects. The trading price of our common stock is likely to be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in price in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. These factors include:

 

  Quarterly variations in our results of operations or those of our competitors;

 

  Announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, new products and services, significant contracts, commercial relationships, or capital commitments;

 

  Disruption or substantive changes to our operations, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

  Variations in our sales and earnings from period to period;

 

  Commencement of, or our involvement in, litigation;

 

  Any major change in our board or management;

 

  Changes in governmental regulations or in the status of our regulatory approvals; and

 

  General market conditions and other factors, including factors unrelated to our own operating performance.

 

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the United States securities laws, which will require expenditure of capital and other resources, and may divert management’s attention. We are a public reporting company subject to the information and reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“Sarbanes”), and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Complying with these rules and regulations have caused us and will continue to cause us to incur additional legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, be time-consuming or costly, and continue to increase demand on our systems and resources. The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. We are not current in our SEC filings and the cost of completing historical filings in addition to maintaining current financial reporting has been, and will continue to be, a financial burden for us. If we fail to or are unable to comply with Sarbanes, we will not be able to obtain independent accountant certifications that Sarbanes requires publicly traded companies to obtain. Further, by complying with public disclosure requirements, our business and financial condition are more visible, which we believe may result in the likelihood of increased threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. Compliance with these additional requirements may also divert management’s attention from operating our business. Any of these may adversely affect our operating results.

 

We may not be able to attract the attention of major brokerage firms or securities analysts in our efforts to raise capital. In due course, we plan to seek to have our common stock quoted on a national securities exchange in the United States. There can be no assurance that we will be able to garner a quote for our common stock on an exchange. Even if we are successful in doing so, security analysts and major brokerage houses may not provide coverage of us. We may also not be able to attract any brokerage houses to conduct secondary offerings with respect to our securities.

 

24
 

 

Because we are subject to the “penny stock” rules and regulations, the level of trading activity in our common stock is limited, and our stockholders may have difficulties selling their shares. SEC regulations define penny stocks to be any non-exchange equity security that has a market price of less than $5.00 per share, subject to certain exemptions. The regulations of the SEC promulgated under the Exchange Act require additional disclosure relating to the market for penny stocks in connection with trades in any stock defined as a penny stock. Unless an exception is available, those regulations require the broker-dealer to deliver, prior to any transaction involving a penny stock, a standardized risk disclosure schedule prepared by the SEC, to provide the customer with current bid and offer quotations for the penny stock, the compensation of the broker-dealer and its salesperson in the transaction, monthly account statements showing the market value of each penny stock held in the purchaser’s account, to make a special written determination that the penny stock is a suitable investment for the purchaser and receive the purchaser’s written agreement to the transaction. These disclosure requirements may have the effect of reducing the level of trading activity, if any, in the secondary market for a stock that becomes subject to the penny stock rules. Consequently, these penny stock rules may affect the ability of broker-dealers to trade our securities. We believe that the penny stock rules discourage market investor interest in and limit the marketability of our common stock. There can be no assurance that our common stock will qualify for exemption from the penny stock rules. In any event, even if our common stock were exempt from the penny stock rules, we would remain subject to Section 15(b)(6) of the Exchange Act, which gives the SEC the authority to restrict any person from participating in a distribution of penny stock, if the SEC finds that such a restriction would be in the public interest.

 

In addition to the “penny stock” rules promulgated by the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has adopted rules that require that in recommending an investment to a customer, a broker-dealer must have reasonable grounds for believing that the investment is suitable for that customer. Prior to recommending speculative low-priced securities to their non-institutional customers, broker-dealers must make reasonable efforts to obtain information about the customer’s financial status, tax status, investment objectives, and other information. Under interpretations of these rules, FINRA believes that there is a high probability that speculative low-priced securities will not be suitable for at least some customers. FINRA requirements make it more difficult for broker-dealers to recommend that their customers buy our common stock, which may limit your ability to buy and sell our common stock.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

Not Applicable.

 

Item 2. Properties

 

On April 25, 2018, we entered into an office sublease agreement (the “1500 Fourth Ave Sublease”) to sublease a portion of the “master premises” consisting of 7,457 rentable square feet of office space for our then-executive offices at 1500 Fourth Avenue, Suite 200, Seattle, Washington 98101. The 1500 Fourth Ave Sublease commenced on June 1, 2018 with an expiration date of October 31, 2021. The amount of monthly rent payable per square foot under the 1500 Fourth Ave Sublease was $25.95 for the first year, $35.00 for the second year, $36.00 for the third year, and $37.00 for the remainder of the term. On March 1, 2020, we assumed the entire lease for the remaining term of 20 months.

 

On September 19, 2018, we entered into a membership agreement with WeWork for office space located at 995 Market Street, San Francisco, California. The agreement commenced on October 1, 2018. We paid approximately $17,400 per month, which included certain conference room credits and printer credits. We also paid a service retainer in the amount of $26,100. We terminated our membership agreement effective October 31, 2020.

 

On December 12, 2018, as part of our acquisition of Say Media, we assumed the office lease (the “Portland Lease”) of 10,000 rentable square feet at 424 SW Fourth Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204. The Portland Lease began on July 1, 2015, and expired June 30, 2020. Monthly lease payments increased from $18,750 in July 2015 to $27,500 in June 2020.

 

25
 

 

On August 7, 2019, as part of its acquisition of TheStreet, we assumed the office lease of approximately 35,000 rentable square feet at 14 Wall Street, 15th Floor, New York, New York 10005. The lease had a remaining term of 16 months, expiring on December 31, 2020. Monthly lease payments from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020 were $150,396. On October 30, 2020, we entered into a surrender agreement (the “Surrender Agreement”) pursuant to which we effectively surrendered the property back to the owner and landlord. Pursuant to the Surrender Agreement, we agreed to pay $68,868 per month from January 2021 through June 1, 2022 to satisfy the total outstanding balance of $1,239,626 owed to the lessor. The first $500,000 of payments was drawn from a security deposit, which is held by the lessor. The lessor agreed not to charge any late fees, interest charges, or other penalties relating to the surrender of the property.

 

Effective October 1, 2019, we entered into an office lease (the “Santa Monica Lease”) of approximately 5,258 rentable square feet at 301 Arizona Avenue, 4th Floor, Santa Monica, California 90401. The Santa Monica Lease has a term of 5 years, expiring on September 30, 2024. The initial monthly rent was $36,806 and increased to $37,910 in October 2020.

 

Effective October 3, 2019, we entered into a condominium lease (the “Washington Square Lease”) of a multifamily townhome at 26 Washington Square North, New York, New York 10011. The Washington Square Lease had a term of one year, expiring on October 2, 2020, with monthly rent payments of $10,000. This property was used by our executive officers when they were in New York for matters related to our business. We terminated this lease in March 2020 when we entered into the 30 West Lease (as defined below).

 

On January 14, 2020, we entered into an office sublease agreement (the “Liberty Street Sublease”) of approximately 40,868 rentable square feet at 225 Liberty Street, 27th Floor, New York, New York 10281, with an effective date of February 1, 2020 with lease payments commencing November 1, 2020 and expiring on November 30, 2032. Monthly lease payments from November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2025 are $252,019.

 

Effective March 1, 2020, we entered into a corporate apartment lease (the “30 West Lease”) at 30 West Street, New York, New York 10004. The 30 West Lease has a term of 18 months, expiring on August 31, 2021, with monthly lease payments of $8,000 through February 2021 and $8,500 from March 2021 through the expiration of the lease. We terminated this lease in December 2020.

 

We believe that the rates we are paying under our property leases are competitive in our various real estate markets, and we would be able to find comparable lease properties in the event we changed locations.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

From time to time, we may be subject to claims and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. We are not currently subject to any pending or threatened legal proceedings that we believe would reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosure

 

Not applicable.

 

Part II.

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Market Information

 

As of December 1, 2016, our common stock is quoted on the OTCM’s OTC Pink trading under the symbol “MVEN.”

 

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The following table sets forth the high and low bid prices during the periods indicated, as reported by the OTCM. Such prices reflect inter-dealer prices, without retail mark-up, mark-down or commission and may not necessarily represent actual transactions.

 

   Common Stock 
   (MVEN) 
   High   Low 
2021          
First Quarter  $3.00   $0.42 
Second Quarter  $1.04   $0.56 
Third Quarter (1)  $

0.81

   $

0.50

 
2020          
First Quarter  $0.99   $0.31 
Second Quarter  $0.80   $0.30 
Third Quarter  $1.12   $0.50 
Fourth Quarter  $0.90   $0.50 
2019          
First Quarter  $0.75   $0.40 
Second Quarter  $0.70   $0.37 
Third Quarter  $1.00   $0.50 
Fourth Quarter  $0.94   $0.56 

 

  (1) Through August 12, 2021.

 

Holders

 

As of August 12, 2021, there were approximately 250 holders of record of our common stock. We believe that there are additional holders of our common stock who have their stock in “street name” with their brokers. Currently, we cannot determine the approximate number of those street name holders. As of such date, 263,441,879 shares of our common stock were issued and outstanding.

 

Dividends

 

We have never paid cash dividends on our common stock, and our present policy is to retain any future earnings to support our operations and finance the growth and development of our business. We do not intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future. Any future determination related to our dividend policy will be made at the discretion of our Board.

 

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

 

On December 15, 2020, we entered into the Fourth Amendment, pursuant to which we agreed to repurchase from certain key personnel of HubPages, including Paul Edmondson, one of our officers, and his spouse, an aggregate of approximately 44,356 shares of our common stock at a price of $4.00 per share each month for a period of 24 months. The details of these repurchases are as follows:

 

Period 

(a)

Total number of shares (or units purchased

  

(b)

Average price paid per share (or unit)

  

(c)

Total number of shares (or units) purchased as part of publicly announced plans or programs

  

(d)

Maximum number (or approximate dollar value) of shares (or units that may yet be purchased under the plans or programs

 
December 30, 2020   44,356   $4.00    -    1,020,193 
January 29, 2021   44,356   $4.00    -    975,837 
March 1, 2021   44,356   $4.00    -    931,481 
June 1, 2021 (1)   133,068   $4.00    -    798,413 
July 1, 2021   44,356   $4.00    -    754,057 
July 30, 2021   

44,356

   $4.00         

709,701

 

 

  (1) Pursuant to the terms of the Fourth Amendment, we have the discretion to determine on a monthly basis whether to make a repurchase for such month. For the months of April and May 2021, we did not make any repurchases pursuant to the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, in June 2021, we repurchased 133,068 shares, comprised of the 44,356 shares for April 2021, 44,356 shares for May 2021, and 44,356 shares for June 2021.

 

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Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

On January 1, 2020, we issued 562,500 shares of our common stock as restricted stock awards to certain members of our Board subject to continued service with us. The awards vest over a twelve-month period from the grant date. The per share value on the grant date was $0.18. The issuance was exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act by virtue of Section 4(a)(2) thereof as a transaction not involving a public offering.

 

On January 11, 2021, we issued 312,500 shares to Whisper Advisors, LLC as payment for services provided pursuant to that certain Services Agreement dated December 22, 2020. The shares had a fair market value of $125,000. The issuance was exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act by virtue of Section 4(a)(2) thereof as a transaction not involving a public offering.

 

Any other securities that we sold that were not registered under the Securities Act during the previous three years have previously been included in a Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or in a Current Report on Form 8-K.

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

Not applicable to a “smaller reporting company” as defined in Item 10(f)(1) of SEC Regulation S-K.

 

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

This Annual Report includes the business and financial information for the Fiscal Year Period (i.e., the year ended December 31, 2020). Therefore, this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations provides an analysis of the financial condition and results of operations for the Fiscal Year Period. The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements that are included elsewhere in this Annual Report. Our discussion includes forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties, such as our plans, objectives, expectations, and intentions. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors. We use words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “continuing,” “ongoing,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements.

 

Please see Our Future Businessand Future Liquidityfor additional important information.

 

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Overview

 

We operate a best-in-class technology platform empowering premium publishers who impact, inform, educate and entertain. We operate the media businesses for Sports Illustrated and TheStreet, and power more than 250 independent brands. The Maven Platform provides digital publishing, distribution and monetization capabilities to our own Sports Illustrated and TheStreet media businesses as well as to the Publisher Partners. Generally, the Publisher Partners are independently owned strategic partners who receive a share of revenue from the interaction with their content. They also benefit from our membership marketing and management systems to further enhance their revenue.

 

Our growth strategy is to continue to expand by adding new premium publishers with high quality brands and content either as independent Publisher Partners or by acquiring publishers as owned and operated entities. By adding premium content brands, we will further expand the scale of the Maven Platform, improve monetization effectiveness in both advertising and subscription revenues, and enhance the attractiveness to consumers and advertisers.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

As of December 31, 2020, our principal sources of liquidity consisted of cash of approximately $9.0 million. In addition, we had the use of additional proceeds from our working capital facility with FPP Finance LLC (“FastPay”), As of the issuance date of our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, we had also received proceeds from a private placement of our common stock of approximately $20.0 million, which is discussed in greater detail below in the section entitled “Future Liquidity.”

 

We continued to be focused on growing our existing operations and seeking accretive and complementary strategic acquisitions as part of our growth strategy. We believed, that with additional sources of liquidity and the ability to raise additional capital or incur additional indebtedness to supplement our then internal projections, we would be able to execute our growth plan and finance our working capital requirements.

 

We have financed our working capital requirements since inception through issuances of equity securities and various debt financings. Our working capital deficit as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 was as follows:

 

   As of December 31, 
   2020   2019 
Current assets  $73,846,465   $48,160,360 
Current liabilities   (107,562,825)   (87,541,031)
Working capital deficit   (33,716,360)   (39,380,671)

 

As of December 31, 2020, we had a working capital deficit of approximately $33.7 million, as compared to approximately $39.4 million as of December 31, 2019, consisting of approximately $73.8 million in total current assets and approximately $107.6 million in total current liabilities. Included in current assets as of December 31, 2020, was approximately $0.5 million of restricted cash. Also included in our working capital deficit is approximately $1.1 million of warrant derivative liabilities, leaving a working capital deficit that requires cash payments of approximately $32.6 million. We had a working capital deficit as of December 31, 2019, consisting of approximately $48.2 million in total current assets and approximately $87.5 million in total current liabilities.

 

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Our cash flows during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 consisted of the following:

 

   Years Ended December 31, 
   2020   2019 
Net cash used in operating activities  $(32,294,587)  $(56,954,306)
Net cash used in investing activities   (4,927,833)   (19,019,191)
Net cash provided by financing activities   37,284,011    82,919,298 
Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash  $61,591   $6,945,801 
Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash, end of year  $9,534,681   $9,473,090 

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash used in operating activities was approximately $32.3 million, consisting primarily of: approximately $116.0 million of cash received from customers (including payments received in advance of performance obligations); less (i) approximately $148.3 million of cash paid (a) to employees, Publisher Partners, Expert Contributors, suppliers, and vendors, and (b) for revenue share arrangements and professional services; and (ii) approximately $0.6 million of cash paid for interest; as compared to the year ended December 31, 2019, where net cash used in operating activities was approximately $57.0 million, consisting primarily of: approximately $47.4 million of cash received from customers (including payments received in advance of performance obligations); less (y) approximately $104.4 million of cash paid (a) to employees, Publisher Partners, suppliers, and vendors, and (b) for revenue share arrangements, advance of royalty fees and professional services; and (z) approximately $2.9 million of cash paid for interest.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash used in investing activities was approximately $4.9 million, consisting primarily of (i) approximately $0.3 million for the acquisition of a business; (ii) approximately $1.2 million for purchases of property and equipment; (iii) approximately $3.8 million for capitalized costs for our Maven Platform; and (iv) approximately $0.4 million from proceeds for the sale of intangible assets; as compared to the year ended December 31, 2019, where net cash used in investing activities was approximately $19.0 million, consisting primarily of (x) approximately $16.3 million for the acquisition of a business; (y) approximately $0.2 million for purchases of property and equipment; and (z) approximately $2.5 million for capitalized costs for our Maven Platform.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash provided by financing activities was approximately $37.3 million, consisting primarily of: (i) approximately $20.6 million in net proceeds from the issuance of Series H Convertible Preferred Stock (the “Series H Preferred Stock”), Series J Convertible Preferred Stock (“Series J Preferred Stock”), and Series K Convertible Preferred Stock (“Series K Preferred Stock”); (ii) approximately $7.2 million in borrowings under our line of credit; (iii) approximately $11.1 million in net proceeds from long-term debt consisting of the 15% delayed draw term note (the “Term Note”) and the Paycheck Protection Program Loan issued under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”); less (iv) approximately $1.1 million in repayments under the 12% senior secured subordinated convertible debentures (referred to herein as the “12% convertible debentures”) (for additional information, see Note 18, Convertible Debt, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements); and (v) approximately $0.5 million in payments for tax withholdings on the net settlement of share awards; as compared to the year ended December 31, 2019, where net cash provided by financing activities was approximately $82.9 million, consisting primarily of: (i) approximately $36.1 million in net proceeds from the issuance of Series I Convertible Preferred Stock (“Series I Preferred Stock”) and Series J Preferred Stock; (ii) approximately $2.0 million in gross proceeds from the sale of the 12% convertible debentures; and (iii) approximately $46.5 million in net proceeds from the issuance of long-term debt (the “12% Amended Senior Secured Notes”), less repayments of other long-term debt; offset by (x) approximately $0.3 million in payments for tax withholdings on the net settlement of share awards; (y) approximately $1.0 million in repayments under our line of credit; and (z) approximately $0.4 million in the repayment of officer promissory notes.

 

During the year ended December 31, 2020, we received aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $20.8 million from the issuance of our Series H Preferred Stock, Series K Preferred Stock and Series J Preferred Stock (as further described in Note 20, Preferred Stock, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements). All of the shares of Series K Preferred Stock and Series J Preferred Stock automatically converted into shares of our common stock on or about December 18, 2020, the date on which we filed a Certificate of Amendment to our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, as amended (the “Certificate of Amendment”), to increase the number of authorized shares of our common stock to at least a number permitting such preferred stock shares to be converted in full. As of December 31, 2020, we had no shares of Series K or Series J Preferred Stock outstanding. For additional information, see Note 20, Preferred Stock, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements.

 

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Debt Financings

 

Net proceeds from our debt financings (see Note 14, Line of Credit, and Note 19, Long-term Debt, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements for additional information) consisted of the following:

 

FastPay Credit Facility. On February 6, 2020, we entered into a financing and security agreement with FastPay, pursuant to which FastPay extended a $15.0 million line of credit for working capital purposes secured by a first lien on all of our cash and accounts receivable and a second lien on all other assets. Borrowings under the facility bear interest at the LIBOR Rate plus 8.50% and have a final maturity of February 6, 2022. This line of credit was amended by that certain first amendment to financing and security agreement dated March 24, 2020 to permit us to amend and restate the 12% senior secured notes. The aggregate principal amount outstanding, plus accrued and unpaid interest, as of the issuance date of our accompanying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 was approximately $6.5 million.

 

Amended and Restated 12% Senior Secured Notes. On February 27, 2020, we entered into a second amendment to the amended and restated note purchase agreement (the “Second Amendment to A&R NPA”), which further amended the amended and restated note purchase agreement, dated as of June 14, 2019 (the “A&R NPA”), with one accredited investor, BRF Finance Co., LLC (“BRF Finance”), an affiliated entity of B. Riley Financial, Inc. (“B. Riley”). The Second Amendment to A&R NPA further amended the amended and restated 12% senior secured note due June 14, 2022. Pursuant to the Second Amendment to A&R NPA, we replaced our previous $3.5 million working capital facility with Sallyport Commercial Finance, LLC with a new $15.0 million working capital facility with FastPay; and (ii) BRF Finance issued a letter of credit in the amount of approximately $3.0 million to our landlord for our lease of the premises located at 225 Liberty Street, 27th Floor, New York, New York 10281. All borrowings under the amended and restated 12% senior secured notes are collateralized by substantially all of our assets.

 

On March 24, 2020, we entered into a second amended and restated note purchase agreement (the “Second A&R NPA”) with BRF Finance, an affiliated entity of B. Riley, in its capacity as agent for the purchasers, which further amended and restated the Second Amendment to A&R NPA. Pursuant to the Second A&R NPA, interest on amounts outstanding under the existing 12% senior secured notes with respect to (i) interest that was payable on such notes on March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, and (ii) at our option, with the consent of requisite purchasers, interest that was payable on September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, in lieu of the payment in cash of all or any portion of the interest due on such dates, would be payable in-kind in arrears on the last day of such applicable fiscal quarter.

 

On October 23, 2020, we entered into Amendment No. 1 to the Second A&R NPA with BRF Finance (“Amendment 1”), pursuant to which the maturity date of the 12% senior secured notes was changed to December 31, 2022 or an earlier date if the obligations have been accelerated pursuant to and in accordance with the terms of Amendment 1. Pursuant to Amendment 1, interest payable on the existing 12% senior secured notes on September 30, 2020, December 31, 2020, March 31, 2021, June 30, 2021, September 30, 2021, and December 31, 2021 will be payable in-kind in arrears on the last day of such fiscal quarter. Alternatively, at the option of the holder, such interest amounts originally could have been paid in shares of Series K Preferred Stock; however, after December 18, 2020, the date the Series K Preferred Stock converted into shares of common stock, all such interest amounts can be paid in shares of our common stock based upon the conversion rate specified in the Certificate of Designation for the Series K Preferred Stock, subject to certain adjustments.

 

On May 19, 2021, we entered into an amendment to the Second A&R NPA (“Amendment 2”) with BRF Finance, an affiliated entity of B. Riley, in its capacity as agent for the purchasers and as purchaser, which further amended the 12% senior secured notes. Pursuant to Amendment 2: (i) the interest rate on the 12% senior secured notes decreased from a rate of 12% per annum to a rate of 10% per annum; (ii) the interest rate on the Term Note decreased from a rate of 15% per annum to a rate of 10% per annum; and (iii) we agreed that within one (1) business day after receipt of cash proceeds from any issuance of equity interests, we would prepay the certain obligations in an amount equal to such cash proceeds, net of underwriting discounts and commissions; provided, that, this mandatory prepayment obligation did not apply to any proceeds that we received from the sale and issuance of shares of our common stock pursuant to the securities purchase agreement during the 90-day period commencing on May 20, 2021.

 

The balance outstanding under our amended and restated 12% senior secured notes as of the issuance date of our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $59.6 million, which included outstanding principal of approximately $48.8 million, payment of in-kind interest of approximately $7.5 million that we were permitted to add to the aggregate outstanding principal balance, and unpaid accrued interest of approximately $0.4 million).

 

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Delayed Draw Term Note. Pursuant to the Second A&R NPA, we agreed to issue, at BRF Finance’s option, the Term Note, in the aggregate principal amount of $12.0 million to the investor. On March 24, 2020, we drew down approximately $6.9 million under the Term Note, and after payment of commitment and funding fees paid to BRF Finance in the amount of approximately $0.7 million, and other of its legal fees and expenses that we incurred, we received net proceeds of $6.0 million. The net proceeds were used by us for working capital and general corporate purposes. Additional borrowings under the Term Note requested by us may be made at the option of the purchasers. Up to $8.0 million in principal amount under the Term Note was originally due on March 31, 2021. Interest on amounts outstanding under the Term Note was payable in-kind in arrears on the last day of each fiscal quarter.

 

Pursuant to the terms of Amendment 1, the maturity date was changed from March 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Amendment 1 also provided that BRF Finance, as holder, could originally elect, in lieu of receipt of cash for payment of all or any portion of the interest due or cash payments up to the Conversion Portion (as defined in Amendment 1) of the Term Note, to receive shares of Series K Preferred Stock; however, after December 18, 2020, the date the Series K Preferred Stock converted into shares of our common stock, the holder may elect, in lieu of receipt of cash for such amounts, shares of our common stock based upon the conversion rate specified in the Certificate of Designation for the Series K Preferred Stock, subject to certain adjustments.

 

On October 23, 2020, approximately $3.4 million, including approximately $3.3 million of principal amount of the Term Note and approximately $0.7 million of accrued interest, had been converted into shares of our Series K Preferred Stock. The aggregate principal amount outstanding under the Term Note as of the issuance date of our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 was approximately $4.7 million (including payment of in-kind interest of approximately $1.1 million, which was added to the outstanding Term Note balance).

 

Pursuant to the terms of Amendment 2, the interest rate on the Term Note decreased from a rate of 15% per annum to a rate of 10% per annum.

 

Paycheck Protection Program Loan. On April 6, 2020, we issued a note in favor of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., pursuant to the recently enacted CARES Act administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”). We received total proceeds of approximately $5.7 million under the note. In accordance with the requirements of the CARES Act, we used the proceeds from the note primarily for payroll costs. The note was scheduled to mature on April 6, 2022, had a 0.98% interest rate and was subject to the terms and conditions applicable to loans administered by the SBA under the CARES Act. The balance outstanding as of December 31, 2020 was approximately $5.7 million.

 

Pursuant to the CARES Act, the note was eligible for partial forgiveness for the principal amounts that were used for the limited purposes that qualified for forgiveness under SBA requirements. In order to obtain forgiveness, we requested such forgiveness, provided the requisite documentation in accordance with the SBA requirements, and certified that the amounts we were requesting to be forgiven qualified under those requirements. On June 22, 2021, we received notification from the SBA that our loan was fully forgiven.

 

12% Convertible Debentures. On December 31, 2020, noteholders converted the 12% convertible debentures representing an aggregate of approximately $18.1 million of the then-outstanding principal and accrued but unpaid interest into 53,887,470 shares of our common stock at effective conversion per-share prices ranging from $0.33 to $0.40. Despite the terms of the 12% convertible debentures, the noteholders agreed to allow us to repay accrued but unpaid interest in shares of our common stock. The remaining 12% convertible debentures representing an aggregate of approximately $1.1 million of outstanding principal and accrued interest were not converted and, instead, such amounts were repaid in cash to the noteholders.

 

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Future Liquidity

 

Our consolidated financial statements have been presented on the basis that we are a going concern, which contemplates the realization of assets and satisfaction of liabilities in the normal course of business. We had revenues of approximately $128.0 million during fiscal 2020 and have experienced recurring net losses from operations and negative operating cash flows. Consequently, we were dependent upon continued access to funding and capital resources from both new investors and related parties. If continued funding and capital resources are unavailable at reasonable terms, we may not be able to implement our growth plan and plan of operations. These financings may include terms that may be highly dilutive to existing stockholders.

 

From January 1, 2021 to the issuance date of our accompanying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, we continued to incur operating losses and negative cash flow from operating and investing activities. We have raised $20.0 million in net proceeds pursuant to the sale of shares of our common stock. Our cash balance as of the date our accompanying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 were issued or were available to be issued was approximately $13.9 million. Net proceeds from issuances of our common stock (as further described in Note 27, Subsequent Events, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements) consisted of the following:

 

On May 20 and 25, 2021, we entered into securities purchase agreements with several accredited investors, pursuant to which we sold an aggregate of 21,435,718 shares of our common stock, at a per share price of $0.70, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $15.0 million in a private placement. On June 2, 2021, we entered into a securities purchase agreement with an accredited investor, pursuant to which we sold an aggregate of 7,142,857 shares of our common stock, at a per share price of $0.70, for gross proceeds of approximately $5.0 million in a private placement that was in addition to the two earlier closing that occurred on May 20 and 25, 2021. We intend to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes.

 

Going Concern

 

We performed an annual reporting period going concern assessment. Management is required to assess our ability to continue as a going concern. This Annual Report has been prepared assuming that we will continue as a going concern, which contemplates the realization of assets and the liquidation of liabilities in the normal course of business. Our accompanying consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments that might be necessary if we are unable to continue as a going concern.

 

We have had a history of recurring losses. Our recurring losses from operations and net capital deficiency have been evaluated by management to determine if the significance of those conditions or events would limit our ability to meet its obligations when due. The operating loss realized in fiscal 2020 was primarily a result of the impact on our business from the COVID-19 pandemic and the related shut down of most professional and collegiate sports, which reduced user traffic and advertising revenue. The operating loss realized in fiscal 2019 was primarily a result of a marketing investment in customer growth, together with investment in people and technology as we continued to expand our operations, and operations rapidly expanding during fiscal 2019 with the TheStreet Merger and the Sports Illustrated Licensing Agreement.

 

As reflected in our accompanying consolidated financial statements, we had revenues of approximately $128.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, and have experienced recurring net losses from operations, negative working capital and negative operating cash flows. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we incurred a net loss attributable to common stockholders of approximately $104.7 million, utilized cash in operating activities of approximately $32.3 million, and as of December 31, 2020, had an accumulated deficit of approximately $162.1 million. We have financed our working capital requirements since inception through the issuance of debt and equity securities.

 

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The negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic during 2021 has been to a lesser extent than in 2020. Beginning in 2021, restrictions on non-essential work activity have begun to lift and sporting and other events have begun to be held, with attendance closer to pre-pandemic levels, which has resulted in an increase in traffic to the Maven Platform and, thereby an increase in advertising revenue. The ultimate extent of the impact on our operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether related group gathering and sports event advisories and restrictions will be put in place again, and the extent and effectiveness of containment and other actions taken, including the percentage of the population that receives COVID-19 vaccinations, all of which remain uncertain at the time of issuance of our accompanying consolidated financial statements.

 

Management has evaluated whether relevant conditions or events, considered in the aggregate, raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. Substantial doubt exists when conditions and events, considered in the aggregate, indicate it is probable that a company will not be able to meet its obligations as they become due within one year after the issuance date of its financial statements. Management’s assessment is based on the relevant conditions that are known or reasonably knowable as of the date our accompanying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 were issued or were available to be issued.

 

Management’s assessment of our ability to meet our future obligations is inherently judgmental, subjective and susceptible to change. The factors that we considered important in its going concern analysis, include, but are not limited to, our fiscal 2021 cash flow forecast and our fiscal 2021 operating budget. Management also considered our implementation of additional measures, if required, related to potential revenue and earnings declines from COVID-19. These factors consider information including, but not limited to, our financial condition, liquidity sources, obligations due within one year after the issuance date of our accompanying consolidated financial statements, the funds necessary to maintain operations and financial conditions, including negative financial trends or other indicators of possible financial difficulty.

 

In particular, our plan for the: (1) 2021 cash flow forecast, considered the use of our working capital line with FastPay (as described in Note 19, Long-term Debt, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements) to fund changes in working capital, under which we have available credit of approximately $8.5 million as of the issuance date of these consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, and that we do not anticipate the need for any further borrowings that are subject to the approval of the holders of the Term Note (as described in Note 19, Long-term Debt, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements), under which we may be permitted to borrow up to an additional $5 million; and (2) 2021 operating budget, considered that approximately fifty-eight percent of our revenue is from recurring subscriptions, generally paid in advance, and that digital subscription revenue, that accounts for approximately thirty percent of subscription revenue, grew approximately thirty percent in 2020 demonstrating the strength of our premium brand, and the plan to continue to grow our subscription revenue from our acquisition of TheStreet in 2019 (as described in Note 3, Acquisitions, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements) and to grow premium digital subscriptions from our Sports Illustrated Licensed Brands (as described in Note 3, Acquisitions, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements), which were launched in February 2021.

 

We have considered both quantitative and qualitative factors as part of the assessment that are known or reasonably knowable as of the date our accompanying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 were issued or were available to be issued, and concluded that conditions and events considered in the aggregate, do not raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a one-year period following the financial statement issuance date.

 

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Results of Operations

 

Comparison of Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2019

 

   Years Ended December 31,   2020 versus 2019 
   2020   2019   $ Change   % Change 
Revenue  $128,032,397   $53,343,310   $74,689,087    140.0%
Cost of revenue   103,063,445    47,301,175    55,762,270    117.9%
Gross profit (loss)   24,968,952    6,042,135    18,926,817    313.2%
Operating expenses                    
Selling and marketing   43,589,239    12,789,056    30,800,183    240.8%
General and administrative   36,007,238    29,511,204    6,496,034    22.0%
Depreciation and amortization   16,280,475    4,551,372    11,729,103    257.7%
Total operating expenses   95,876,952    46,851,632    49,025,320    104.6%
Loss from operations   (70,908,000)   (40,809,497)   (30,098,503)   73.8%
Total other (expenses) income   (18,113,131)   (17,232,999)   (880,132)   5.1%
Loss before income taxes   (89,021,131)   (58,042,496)   (30,978,635)   53.4%
Income taxes   (210,832)   19,541,127    (19,751,959)   -100.1%
Net loss   (89,231,963)   (38,501,369)   (50,730,594)   131.8%
Deemed dividend on convertible preferred stock   (15,642,595)   -    (15,642,595)   0.0%
Net loss attributable to common stockholders  $(104,874,558)  $(38,501,369)  $(66,373,189)   172.4%
Basic and diluted net loss per common share  $(2.28)  $(1.04)  $(1.22)   119.2%
Weighted average number of shares outstanding – basic and diluted   45,981,029    37,080,784    8,900,245    24.0%

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, the net loss attributable to common shareholders was approximately $104.9 million. The total net loss attributable to common stockholders increased by approximately $66.4 million from the year ended December 31, 2019 net loss of approximately $38.5 million. The primary reasons for the increase in the total net loss is that our operations continued to rapidly expand during the year ended December 31, 2020 as they did in 2019. In particular, during the year ended December 31, 2020 we operated our Sports Illustrated media business that we acquired during the fourth quarter of 2019. The basic and diluted net loss per common share for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $2.28 increased from $1.04 for the year ended December 31, 2019 primarily because of: (i) the weighted average basic and diluted shares increased as the net loss per common share increased along with the calculation of the daily weighted average shares outstanding increase to 45,981,029 shares from 37,080,784 shares; (ii) the deemed dividend on the convertible preferred stock of approximately $15.6 million; and (iii) the other expenses of approximately $18.1 million.

 

Our growth strategy is principally focused on adding new publisher partners to our Maven Platform. In addition, if the right opportunity exists, we may also acquire related online media, publishing, and technology businesses. This combined growth strategy has expanded the scale of unique users interacting on our Maven Platform with increased revenues during 2020. We expect revenues increases in subsequent years will come from organic growth in operations, addition of more publisher partners, and mergers and acquisitions.

 

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Revenue

 

The following table sets forth revenue, cost of revenue, and gross profit:

 

   Years Ended December 31,   2020 versus 2019 
   2020   2019   Change   % Change 
   (percentage reflect cost of revenue as a percentage of total revenue)         
Revenue  $128,032,397    100.0%  $53,343,310    100.0%  $74,689,087    140.0%
Cost of revenue   103,063,445    80.5%   47,301,175    88.7%   55,762,270    117.9%
Gross profit  $24,968,952    19.5%  $6,042,135    11.3%  $18,926,817    313.2%

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, we had gross profit of approximately $25.0 million, as compared to gross profit of approximately $6.0 million for year ended December 31, 2019.

 

The following table sets forth revenue by product line and the corresponding percent of total revenue:

 

   Years Ended December 31,   2020 versus 2019 
   2020   2019   Change   % Change 
   (percentages reflect product line as a percentage of total revenue)         
Advertising  $44,359,822    34.6%  $35,918,370    67.3%  $8,441,452    15.8%
Digital subscriptions   28,495,676    22.3%   6,855,038    12.9%   21,640,638    40.6%
Magazine circulation   50,580,213    39.5%   9,046,473    17.0%   41,533,740    77.9%
Other   4,596,686    3.6%   1,523,429    2.9%   3,073,257    5.8%
Total revenue  $128,032,397    100.0%  $53,343,310    100.0%  $74,689,087    140.0%

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, the primary sources of revenue were as follows: (i) advertising of approximately $44.4 million; (ii) digital subscriptions of approximately $28.5 million; (iii) magazine circulation of approximately $50.6 million; and (iv) other revenue of approximately $4.6 million. Our advertising revenue increased by approximately $8.4 million, due to additional revenue of approximately $3.2 million generated as a result of TheStreet, which we acquired during the second quarter of 2019, and approximately $11.5 million generated as a result of the Sports Illustrated media business, which we acquired during the fourth quarter of 2019, offset by an approximately $6.2 million decrease in revenue from our legacy business. Our digital subscriptions increased by approximately $21.6 million due to additional revenue of approximately $16.8 million generated as a result of TheStreet, which we acquired during the second quarter of 2019 and approximately $4.3 million generated as a result of the Sports Illustrated media business, which we acquired during the fourth quarter of 2019. Our magazine circulation contributed approximately $41.5 million as a result of the Sports Illustrated media business acquired during the fourth quarter of 2019. Our other revenue increased by approximately $3.1 million due to additional revenue of approximately $0.3 million generated as a result of TheStreet, which we acquired during the second quarter of 2019, approximately $0.4 million generated as a result of the Sports Illustrated media business, which we acquired during the fourth quarter of 2019, and approximately $2.3 million generated by our legacy business.

 

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Cost of Revenue

 

For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we recognized cost of revenue of approximately $103.1 million and approximately $47.3 million, respectively. The increase of approximately $55.8 million in cost of revenue is primarily from: (i) our Publisher Partner guarantees and revenue share payments of approximately $4.8 million; (ii) payroll, stock based compensation, and related expenses for customer support, technology maintenance, and occupancy costs of related personnel of approximately $19.1 million; (iii) amortization of our Maven Platform of approximately $2.4 million (which includes our Maven Platform spending and amortization related to acquired developed technology from our acquisitions); (iv) royalty fees of approximately $11.3 million; (v) hosting, bandwidth, and software licensing fees of approximately $1.3 million; (vi) printing, distribution, and fulfillment costs of approximately $9.5 million; (vii) fees paid for data analytics and to other outside services providers of approximately $3.7 million and (vii) other costs of revenue of approximately $3.8 million.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2020, we capitalized costs related to our Maven Platform of approximately $5.4 million, as compared to approximately $3.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. In fiscal 2020, the capitalization of our Maven Platform development consisted of approximately $3.8 million in payroll and related expenses, including taxes and benefits, approximately $1.6 million in stock-based compensation for related personnel, and amortization of approximately $8.6 million. In fiscal 2019, the capitalization of our Maven Platform development consisted of approximately $2.5 million in payroll and related expenses, including taxes and benefits, approximately $1.3 million in stock-based compensation for related personnel, and amortization of approximately $6.2 million.

 

Operating Expenses

 

The following table sets forth operating expenses and the corresponding percentage of total revenue:

 

   Years Ended December 31,   2020 versus 2019 
   2020   2019   Change   % Change 
   (percentages reflect expense as a percentage of total revenue)         
Selling and marketing  $  43,589,239    34.0%  $  12,789,056    24.0%  $  30,800,183    65.7%
General and administrative   36,007,238    28.1%   29,511,204    55.3%   6,496,034    13.9%
Depreciation and amortization   16,280,475    12.7%   4,551,372    8.5%   11,729,103    25.0%
Total operating expenses  $95,876,952        $46,851,632        $49,025,320    104.6%

 

Selling and Marketing. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we incurred selling and marketing costs of approximately $43.6 million, as compared to approximately $12.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in selling and marketing cost of approximately $30.8 million is primarily from payroll costs for the selling and marketing account management support teams, along with the related benefits and stock based compensation of approximately $8.2 million; circulation costs of approximately $14.2 million; office and occupancy costs of approximately $0.7 million; advertising costs of approximately $5.9 million; and other selling and marketing related costs of approximately $1.7 million.

 

General and Administrative. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we incurred general and administrative costs of approximately $36.0 million from payroll and related expenses, professional services, occupancy costs, stock based compensation of related personnel, depreciation and amortization, and other corporate expense, as compared to approximately $29.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in general and administrative expenses of approximately $6.5 million is primarily from our increase in professional services, including accounting, legal and insurance of approximately $4.8 million; facilities costs of approximately $1.1 million; and other general corporate expenses of approximately $2.0 million.

 

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Other (Expenses) Income

 

The following table sets forth other (expenses) income:

 

   Years Ended December 31,   2020 versus 2019 
   2020   2019   Change   % Change 
   (percentages reflect other expense (income) as a percentage of the total)         
Change in valuation of warrant derivative liabilities  $496,305    -2.7%  $(1,015,151)   5.9%  $1,511,456    -8.8%
Change in valuation of embedded derivative liabilities   2,571,004    -14.2%   (5,040,000)   29.2%   7,611,004    -44.2%
Loss on conversion of convertible debentures   (3,297,539)   18.2%   -    0.0%   (3,297,539)   19.1%
Interest expense   (16,497,217)   91.1%   (10,463,570)   60.7%   (6,033,647)   35.0%
Interest income   381,026    -2.1%   13,976    -0.1%   367,050    -2.1%
Liquidated damages   (1,487,577)   8.2%   (728,516)   4.2%   (759,061)   4.4%
Other (expense) income   (279,133)   1.5%   262    0.0%   (279,396)   1.6%
Total other expenses  $(18,113,131)   100.0%  $  (17,232,999)   100.0%  $(880,132)   5.1%

 

Change in Valuation of Warrant Derivative Liabilities. The change in valuation of warrant derivative liabilities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was the result of the decrease in the fair value of the warrant derivative liabilities as of December 31, 2020, as compared to the change in the valuation for the year ended December 31, 2019 where the change was from an increase in the fair value of the warrant derivative liabilities as of December 31, 2019.

 

Change in Valuation of Embedded Derivative Liabilities. The change in valuation of embedded derivative liabilities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was the result of the decrease in the fair value of the embedded derivative liabilities as of December 31, 2020, as compared to the change in the valuation for the year ended December 31, 2019 where the change was from an increase in the fair value of the embedded derivative liabilities as of December 31, 2019.

 

Interest Expense. We incurred interest expense of approximately $16.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2020, as compared to approximately $10.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily consisting of approximately $6.6 million from amortization of debt discount on notes payable; approximately $9.2 million of accrued interest; and approximately $0.6 million of other interest. In fiscal 2019, interest expense primarily consisted of approximately $4.5 million of amortization of accretion of original issue discount and debt discount on notes payable; $3.1 million of accrued interest; and $2.9 million of other interest.

 

Liquidated Damages. We recorded approximately $1.5 million of liquidating damages, including the accrued interest thereon, during the year ended December 31, 2020 primarily from the issuance of our 12% convertible debentures, Series H Preferred Stock, Series I Preferred Stock and Series J Preferred Stock in fiscal 2020 since we determined that: (1) the registration statements registering for resale the shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the 12% convertible debentures, Series I Preferred Stock and Series J Preferred Stock would not be declared effective within the requisite time frame; and (2) that we would not be able to become current in our periodic filing obligations with the SEC in order to satisfy the public information requirements under the applicable securities purchase agreements. We recorded liquidated damages, including the accrued interest thereon, of approximately $0.7 million in fiscal 2019 primarily from issuance of our 12% convertible debentures, Series H Preferred Stock, Series I Preferred Stock and Series J Preferred Stock, which liquidated damages were based upon the reasons set forth above.

 

Deemed Dividend on Convertible Preferred Stock

 

Series H Preferred Stock. During fiscal 2020, in connection with the issuance of 108 shares (issued on August 19, 2020) and 389 shares (issued on October 31, 2020) of our Series H Preferred Stock, we recorded a beneficial conversion feature of approximately $0.1 million and approximately $0.4 million, respectively (totaling approximately $0.7 million), for the underlying shares of our common stock since the nondetachable conversion feature was in-the-money (the conversion price of $0.33 was lower than our common stock trading price of $0.86 and $0.77 at the issuance dates of August 19, 2020 and October 31, 2020, respectively). The beneficial conversion feature was recognized as a deemed dividend.

 

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Series I Preferred Stock. On December 18, 2020, all of the shares of our Series I Preferred Stock converted automatically into shares of our common stock as a result of the increase in the number of authorized shares of our common stock. Upon conversion, we recognized a beneficial conversion feature for the underlying shares of our common stock since the nondetachable conversion feature was in-the-money (the conversion price of $0.50 was lower than our common stock trading price of $0.61 at the conversion date). The beneficial conversion feature was recognized as a deemed dividend.

 

Series J Preferred Stock. On December 18, 2020, all of the shares of our Series J Preferred Stock converted automatically into shares of our common stock as a result of the increase in the number of authorized shares of our common stock. Upon conversion, we recognized a beneficial conversion feature for the underlying shares of our common stock since the nondetachable conversion feature was in-the-money (the effective conversion price of $0.40 for the issuance of our Series J Preferred Stock on September 4, 2020 (these shares were issued at a discount) was lower than our common stock trading price of $0.61 at the conversion date). The beneficial conversion feature was recognized as a deemed dividend.

 

Series K Preferred Stock. On December 18, 2020, all of the shares of our Series K Preferred Stock converted automatically into shares of our common stock as a result of the increase in the number of authorized shares of our common stock. Upon conversion, we recognized a beneficial conversion feature for the underlying shares of our common stock since the nondetachable conversion feature was in-the-money (the conversion price of $0.40 was lower than our common stock trading price of $0.61 at the conversion date). The beneficial conversion feature was recognized as a deemed dividend.

 

Seasonality

 

We expect to experience typical media company advertising and membership sales seasonality, which is strong in the fiscal fourth quarter and slower in the fiscal first quarter.

 

Effects of Inflation

 

To date inflation has not had a material impact on our business or operating results.

 

Our Future Business

 

In 2021, we completed the following acquisition:

 

Acquisition of The Spun

 

On June 4, 2021, we entered into the CS Purchase Agreement with Maven Media, The Spun, the Seller Parties, and the representative, pursuant to which, on the same date, Maven Media acquired The Spun Stock. In exchange for The Spun Stock, Maven Media agreed to pay a purchase price, comprised of the Cash Payment of an aggregate of $11 million and the Stock Payment consisting of an aggregate of 4,285,714 restricted shares of our common stock, with one-half of the shares vesting on the first anniversary of the closing date and the remaining one-half of the shares vesting on the second anniversary of the closing date. The Cash Payment will be paid as follows: (i) on the closing date, a cash payment of $10 million; (ii) on the first anniversary of the closing date, a cash payment of $500,000; and (iii) on the second anniversary of the closing date, a cash payment of $500,000. The Cash Payment is subject to a customary working capital adjustment based on cash and accounts receivable targets of The Spun as of the closing. Further, the vesting of the Stock Payment held by Seller Parties is subject to the continued employment of certain senior executives of The Spun.

 

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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reported periods. The more critical accounting estimates include estimates related to revenue recognition, platform development, impairment of long-lived assets, and stock-based compensation. We also have other key accounting policies, which involve the use of estimates, judgments and assumptions that are significant to understanding our results, which are described in Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements.

 

Our discussion and analysis of the financial condition and results of operations is based upon our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Report, which have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. We believe the following critical accounting policies affect our more significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of the financial statements. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

 

Revenue

 

In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, revenues are recognized when control of the promised goods or services are transferred to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration that we expect to receive in exchange for those goods or services. We generate all of its revenue from contracts with customers. We account for revenue on a gross basis, as compared to a net basis, in its statement of operations. We made this determination based on it taking the credit risk in its revenue-generating transactions and it also being the primary obligor responsible for providing the services to the customer. Cost of revenues is presented as a separate line item in the statement of operations.

 

The following is a description of the principal activities from which we generate revenue:

 

Advertising Revenue

 

Digital Advertising. We recognize revenue from digital advertisements at the point when each ad is viewed. The quantity of advertisements, the impression bid prices, and revenue are reported on a real-time basis. We enter into contracts with advertising networks to serve display or video advertisements on the digital media pages associated with its various channels. Although reported advertising transactions are subject to adjustment by the advertising network partners, any such adjustments are known within a few days of month end. We owe our independent Publisher Partners a revenue share of the advertising revenue earned, which is recorded as service costs in the same period in which the associated advertising revenue is recognized.

 

Advertising revenue that is comprised of fees charged for the placement of advertising on the websites that we own and operate, is recognized as the advertising or sponsorship is displayed, provided that collection of the resulting receivable is reasonably assured.

 

Print Advertising. Advertising related revenues for print advertisements are recognized when advertisements are published (defined as an issue’s on-sale date), net of provisions for estimated rebates, rate adjustments, and discounts.

 

Subscription Revenue

 

Digital Subscriptions. We enter into contracts with internet users that subscribe to premium content on our owned and operated media channels and facilitate such contracts between internet users and our Publisher Partners. These contracts provide internet users with a membership subscription to access the premium content. For subscription revenue generated by our independent Publisher Partners’ content, we owe our Publisher Partners a revenue share of the membership subscription revenue earned, which is initially deferred and recorded as deferred contract costs. We recognize deferred contract costs over the membership subscription term in the same pattern that the associated membership subscription revenue is recognized.

 

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Digital subscription revenue generated from our websites that we own and operate are charged to customers’ credit cards or are directly billed to corporate subscribers, and are generally billed in advance on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. We calculate net subscription revenue by deducting from gross revenue an estimate of potential refunds from cancelled subscriptions as well as chargebacks of disputed credit card charges. Net subscription revenue is recognized ratably over the subscription periods. Unearned revenue relates to payments for subscription fees for which revenue has not been recognized because services have not yet been provided.

 

Circulation Revenue

 

Circulation revenues include magazine subscriptions and single copy sales at newsstands.

 

Print Subscriptions. Revenue from magazine subscriptions are deferred and recognized proportionately as products are distributed to subscribers.

 

Newsstand. Single copy revenue is recognized on the publication’s on-sale date, net of provisions for estimated returns. We base our estimates for returns on historical experience and current marketplace conditions.

 

Licensing Revenue

 

Content licensing-based revenues are accrued generally monthly or quarterly based on the specific mechanisms of each contract. Generally, revenues are accrued based on estimated sales and adjusted as actual sales are reported by partners. These adjustments are typically recorded within three months of the initial estimates and have not been material. Any minimum guarantees are typically earned evenly over the fiscal year.

 

Contract Modifications

 

We occasionally enter into amendments to previously executed contracts that constitute contract modifications. We assess each of these contract modifications to determine:

 

  if the additional services and goods are distinct from the services and goods in the original arrangement; and

 

  if the amount of consideration expected for the added services or goods reflects the stand-alone selling price of those services and goods.

 

A contract modification meeting both criteria is accounted for as a separate contract. A contract modification not meeting both criteria is considered a change to the original contract and is accounted for on either a prospective basis as a termination of the existing contract and the creation of a new contract, or a cumulative catch-up basis.

 

Cost of Revenue

 

Our cost of revenue represents the cost of providing our digital media network channels and advertising and membership services. The cost of revenue that we have incurred in the periods presented primarily include:

 

  Publisher Partner guarantees and revenue share payments;
  amortization of developed technology and platform development;
  royalty fees;
  hosting, bandwidth and software license fees;
  printing, distribution, and fulfillment costs;
  payroll and related expenses for customer support, technology maintenance, and occupancy costs of related personnel;
  fees paid for data analytics and to other outside service providers; and
  stock-based compensation of related personnel.

 

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Platform Development

 

For the years presented, substantially all of our technology expenses are development costs for the Maven Platform that were capitalized as intangible costs. Technology costs are expensed as incurred or capitalized into property and equipment in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other. This ASC requires that costs incurred in the preliminary project and post-implementation stages of an internal use software project be expensed as incurred and that certain costs incurred in the application development stage of a project be capitalized.

 

We capitalize internal labor costs, including compensation, benefits and payroll taxes, incurred for certain capitalized platform development projects. Our policy with respect to capitalized internal labor stipulates that labor costs for employees working on eligible internal use capital projects are capitalized as part of the historical cost of the project when the impact, as compared to expensing such labor costs, is material. Maven Platform development capitalized during the application development stage of a project include:

 

  payroll and related expenses for personnel; and
  stock-based compensation of related personnel.

 

Selling and Marketing

 

Selling and marketing consist primarily of expenses incurred in selling and marketing our products. Our selling and marketing expenses include:

 

  payroll and employee benefits of selling and marketing account management support teams;
  professional marketing services;
  office and occupancy costs;
  circulation costs;
  advertising costs; and
  stock-based compensation of related personnel.

 

General and Administrative

 

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of:

 

  payroll and employee benefits for executive and administrative personnel;
  professional services, including accounting, legal and insurance;
  office and occupancy costs;
  conferences;
  other general corporate expenses; and
  stock-based compensation of related personnel.

 

Leases

 

We have various lease arrangements for certain equipment and its offices. Leases are recorded as an operating lease right-of-use assets and operating lease liabilities on the consolidated balance sheets. Leases with an initial term of 12 months or less are not recorded on the consolidated balance sheets. At inception, we determine whether an arrangement that provides control over the use of an asset is a lease. When it is reasonably certain that we will exercise the renewal period, we include the impact of the renewal in the lease term for purposes of determining total future lease payments. Rent expense is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

 

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In February 2016, FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), in order to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet for those leases classified as operating leases under prior GAAP. We adopted ASU 2016-02 on January 1, 2019 which resulted in the recognition of right-of-use assets of approximately $1.7 million, lease liabilities for operating leases of approximately $1.8 million, with no cumulative effect adjustment on retained earnings on our consolidated balance sheets, with no material impact to our consolidated statements of (as further described in Note 7, Leases, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements).

 

Goodwill

 

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the net tangible and intangible assets of businesses acquired in a business combination. Goodwill is not amortized but rather is tested for impairment at least annually on December 31, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of goodwill may not be recoverable. We adopted ASU 2017-04 (as further described in Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements) during the first quarter of 2020 which eliminated Step 2 from the goodwill impairment test. We operate as one reporting unit, therefore, the impairment test is performed at the consolidated entity level by comparing the estimated fair value of the Company to its carrying value. We have elected to first assess the qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of its single reporting unit is less than its carrying amount as a basis of determining whether it is necessary to perform the quantitative goodwill impairment test. If we determine that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount, then the quantitative goodwill impairment test will be performed. The quantitative goodwill impairment test identifies goodwill impairment and measures the amount of goodwill impairment loss to be recognized by comparing the fair value of our single reporting unit with its carrying amount. If the fair value exceeds the carrying amount, no further analysis is required; otherwise, any excess of the goodwill carrying amount over the implied fair value is recognized as an impairment loss, and the carrying value of goodwill is written down to fair value.

 

Stock-Based Compensation

 

We provide stock-based compensation in the form of (a) stock awards to employees and directors, comprised of restricted stock awards and restricted stock units, (b) stock option grants to employees, directors and consultants, (c) common stock warrants to Publisher Partners (as further described in Note 22, Stock-Based Compensation, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements), and (d) common stock warrants to ABG (as further described in Note 22, Stock-Based Compensation, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements).

 

We account for stock awards and stock option grants to employees, directors, and consultants by measuring the cost of services received in exchange for the stock-based payments as compensation expense in our consolidated financial statements. Stock awards and stock option grants to employees which are time-vested are measured at fair value on the grant date, and charged to operations ratably over the vesting period. Stock awards and stock option grants to employees which are performance-vested are measured at fair value on the grant date and charged to operations when the performance condition is satisfied.

 

Prior to the adoption of ASU 2018-07 (as further described in Note 22, Stock-Based Compensation, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements), we accounted for stock-based payments to certain directors and consultants, and Publisher Partners (collectively the “non-employee awards”) by determining the value of the stock compensation based upon the measurement date at either (a) the date at which a performance commitment is reached or (b) at the date at which the necessary performance to earn the equity instruments is complete, resulting in financial reporting period adjustments to stock-based compensation during the vesting terms for changes in the fair value of the awards. After adoption of ASU 2018-07, the measurement date for non-employee awards is the later of the adoption date of ASU 2018-07, or the date of grant, without change in the fair value of the award. There was no cumulative effect of adoption of ASU 2018-07 on January 1, 2019. For stock-based awards granted to non-employees subject to graded vesting that only contain service conditions, we have elected to recognize stock-based compensation expense using the straight-line recognition method.

 

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The fair value measurement of equity awards and grants used for stock-based compensation is as follows: (1) restricted stock awards and restricted stock units which are time-vested are determined using the quoted market price of the Company’s common stock at the grant date; (2) stock option grants which are time-vested and performance-vested are determined utilizing the Black-Scholes option-pricing model at the grant date; (3) restricted stock awards which provide for performance-vesting and a true-up provision are determined through consultants with our independent valuation firm using the binomial pricing model at the grant date; (4) stock option grants which provide for market-based vesting with a time-vesting overlay are determined through consultants with our independent valuation firm using the Monte Carlo model at the grant date; (5) Publisher Partner Warrants are determined utilizing the Black-Scholes option-pricing model; and (6) ABG Warrants are determined utilizing the Monte Carlo model (as further described in Note 22, Stock-Based Compensation, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements).

 

Fair value determined under the Black-Scholes option-pricing model and Monte Carlo model is affected by several variables, the most significant of which are the life of the equity award, the exercise price of the stock option or warrants, as compared to the fair market value of the common stock on the grant date, and the estimated volatility of the common stock over the term of the equity award. Estimated volatility is based on the historical volatility of our common stock and is evaluated based upon market comparisons. The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant. The fair market value of common stock is determined by reference to the quoted market price of our common stock.

 

The fair value of the stock options granted were probability weighted effective January 1, 2019 under the Black-Scholes option-pricing model or Monte Carlo model as determined through consultants with our independent valuation firm since the value of the units or options, among other things, depend on the volatility of the underlying shares of our common stock, under the following two scenarios: (1) scenario one assumes that our common stock will be up-listed on a national stock exchange (the “Exchange”) on a certain listing date (the “Up-list Date”); and (2) scenario two assumes that our common stock is not up-listed on the Exchange prior to the final vesting date of the grants (the “No Up-list”), collectively referred to as the “Probability Weighted Scenarios”.

 

We classify stock-based compensation expense in our consolidated statements of operations in the same manner in which the award recipient’s cash compensation costs are classified.

 

Income Taxes

 

We utilize the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax law is recognized in results of operations in the period that includes the enactment date.

 

Impairment of Long-Lived Assets

 

We periodically evaluate the carrying value of long-lived assets to be held and used when events or circumstances warrant such a review. The carrying value of a long-lived asset to be held and used is considered impaired when the anticipated separately identifiable undiscounted cash flows from such an asset are less than the carrying value of the asset. In that event, a loss is recognized based on the amount by which the carrying value exceeds the fair value of the long-lived asset. Fair value is determined primarily by reference to the anticipated cash flows discounted at a rate commensurate with the risk involved.

 

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

 

Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report includes Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements.

 

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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

As of December 31, 2020, the following transactions, obligations or relationships represent our off-balance sheet arrangements:

 

Strome Warrants. On June 15, 2018, we modified the two securities purchase agreements dated January 4, 2018 and March 30, 2018 with Strome Mezzanine Fund LP (“Strome”). Strome was also granted observer rights on our Board. As consideration for such modification, we issued warrants to Strome to purchase up to 1,500,000 shares of our common stock, exercisable at price of $0.50 per share (as amended) (as further described in Note 21, Stockholders’ Equity, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements), which are carried on our consolidated balance sheets as a derivative liability at fair value, as adjusted at each period-end since, among other criteria, delivery of unregistered shares is precluded upon exercise The warrants are exercisable for a period of five years, subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, and may, in the event there is no effective registration statement covering the resale of the warrant shares, be exercised on a cashless basis in certain circumstances. Warrants exercisable for up to 1,500,000 shares of our common stock were outstanding as of December 31, 2020, with a derivative liability fair value of $704,707. In the event Strome decided to exercise these warrants, since shares of our common stock were available to settle the instrument, there would be no impact to our cash resources.

 

B. Riley Warrants. On October 18, 2018, we issued warrants to B. Riley to purchase up to 875,000 shares of our common stock, with an exercise price of $1.00 per share (as further described in Note 21, Stockholders’ Equity, in our accompanying consolidated financial statements), which are carried on the consolidated balance sheets as a derivative liability at fair value, as adjusted at each period-end since, among other criteria, delivery of unregistered shares is precluded upon exercise. The warrants are exercisable for a period of seven years, subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, and may, if at any time after the six-month anniversary of the issuance of the warrants there is no effective registration statement covering the re-sale of the shares of common stock underlying the warrants, be exercised on a cashless basis. Warrants exercisable for up to 875,000 shares of our common stock were outstanding as of December 31, 2020, with a derivative liability fair value of $443,188. In the event B. Riley decided to exercise these warrants (which are subject to certain contractual exercise limitations), since shares of our common stock were available to settle the instrument after considering the contractual exercise limitations, there would be no impact to our cash resources.

 

Contractual Obligations

 

The following table sets forth our principal cash operating obligations and commitments as of December 31, 2020, aggregating to approximately $49.5 million.

 

       Payments due by Year 
   Total   2021   2022   2023   2024   2025   Thereafter 
Operating leases  $ 41,948,685   $ 3,804,853   $  3,525,158   $ 3,528,696   $ 3,526,406   $3,740,591   $ 23,822,981 
Employment contracts   2,375,000    1,461,842    913,158    -    -    -    - 
Consulting agreement   5,146,499    4,554,399    592,100    -    -    -    - 
Total  $49,470,184   $9,821,094   $5,030,416   $3,528,696   $3,526,406   $3,740,591   $23,822,981 

 

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

Not applicable to a “smaller reporting company” as defined in Item 10(f)(1) of SEC Regulation S-K.

 

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

All information required by this item is listed in the Index to Financial Statements in Part IV, Item 15(a)(1) of this Annual Report.

 

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Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

None.

 

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures

 

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining a system of disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rule 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act) that is designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized, and reported, within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms. Disclosure controls and procedures include, without limitation, controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by an issuer in the reports that it files or submits under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to the issuer’s management, including its principal executive officer(s) and principal financial officer(s), or persons performing similar functions, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.

 

In accordance with Exchange Act Rules 13a-15 and 15d-15, an evaluation was completed under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, of the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures as of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. This evaluation commenced in 2020 and continued until the filing of this Annual Report. Based on that evaluation, our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective in providing reasonable assurance that information required to be disclosed in our reports filed or submitted under the Exchange Act was recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms.

 

Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act). Internal control over financial reporting is a process, including policies and procedures, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external reporting purposes in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Our management assessed our internal control over financial reporting based on the Internal Control—Integrated Framework (2013 Framework) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”). Our system of internal control over financial reporting is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

 

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving their control objectives. Furthermore, smaller reporting companies face additional limitations. Smaller reporting companies employ fewer individuals and find it difficult to properly segregate duties. Smaller reporting companies tend to utilize general accounting software packages that lack a rigorous set of software controls.

 

A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

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Based on our evaluation under the framework in COSO, our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2020. This conclusion is based on such criteria and we believe that control over financial reporting was ineffective because: (i) we lacked monitoring over the completeness and accuracy of our underlying accounting records and had ineffective controls over our period end financial disclosure and reporting processes and information technology systems; (ii) we had inadequate segregation of duties consistent with control objectives; and (iii) we have a history of untimely filed periodic reports, including being unable to timely file our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 (that was filed in January 2021), our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, which included our quarterly results for 2019 (that was filed in April 2021), and our Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q for the quarterly periods ended March 31, 2020, June 30, 2020, and September 30, 2020 (that were filed in May 2021). These weaknesses continue and have not been remediated as of the date of filing this Annual Report.

 

Management, with the participation of the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, has evaluated and begun to implement procedures intended to remediate the material weaknesses identified as of December 31, 2020. During fiscal 2020, we have engaged external certified public accountants to assist our accounting department and Chief Financial Officer in preparing the necessary periodic reports. In TheStreet Merger, we also acquired some additional employees with accounting experience that has assisted us with preparing our periodic reports. We believe our accounting department is now capable of bringing us current with our periodic filing obligations. In addition, our Audit Committee is now assisting our Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee (i) the integrity of our financial statements, our accounting and financial reporting processes, and financial statement audits, (ii) our compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (iii) our systems of internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures, (iv) the engagement of our independent registered public accounting firm, and its qualifications, performance, compensation, and independence, (v) review and approval of related party transactions, and (vi) the communication among our independent registered public accounting firm, our financial and senior management, and our Board.

 

In addition, we intend to undertake the following additional remediation measures to address the material weaknesses described in this Annual Report:

 

  (i) we intend to update the documentation of our internal control processes, including formal risk assessment of our financial reporting processes; and
     
  (ii) we intend to implement procedures pursuant to which we can ensure segregation of duties and hire additional resources to ensure appropriate review and oversight.

 

We have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in us being unable to fully implement our remediation plan. We will continue to evaluate and implement procedures as deemed appropriate to remediate these material weaknesses; however, we expect that the remediation of those matters that were deemed material weaknesses will be fully complete no later than December 31, 2021.

 

Auditor’s Report on Internal Control Over Financing Reporting

 

This Annual Report does not include an attestation report of our registered public accounting firm regarding internal control over financial reporting. Management’s report was not subject to attestation by our registered public accounting firm pursuant to the rules of the SEC that permit us to provide only management’s report in this Annual Report.

 

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

In connection with our continued monitoring and maintenance of our controls procedures as part of the implementation of Section 404 of the Sarbanes, we continue to review, test, and improve the effectiveness of our internal controls. Other than with respect to the remediation efforts discussed above, there have not been any changes in our internal control over financial reporting (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act) during the year ended December 31, 2020 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

 

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Item 9B. Other Information

 

None.

 

Part III

 

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

Current Officers and Directors

 

The following table includes the names, ages and titles of our directors and executive officers. Directors are to be elected each year by our stockholders at an annual meeting. Each director holds his or her office until his or her successor is elected and qualified or resignation or removal. Executive officers are appointed by our Board. Each executive officer holds his or her office until he or she resigns or is removed by our Board or his or her successor is appointed and qualified.

 

Name   Age   Current Title   Dates in Position or Office
Ross Levinsohn   58   Chief Executive Officer and Director (1)   August 26, 2020 – Present
Paul Edmondson   46   President, Platform (2)   October 10, 2019 – Present
Douglas Smith   61   Chief Financial Officer and Secretary   May 3, 2019 – Present
Andrew Kraft   48   Chief Operating Officer (3)   October 1, 2020 – Present
Avi Zimak   46   Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer   December 19, 2019 – Present
Jill Marchisotto   44   Chief Marketing Officer   October 1, 2020 – Present
H. Robertson Barrett   54   President, Media   February 18, 2021 – Present
John Fichthorn   48   Executive Chairman (4)   August 23, 2018 – Present
Peter Mills   66   Director (5)   September 20, 2006 - Present
Todd Sims   51   Director (6)   August 23, 2018 – Present
B. Rinku Sen   54   Director (7)   November 3, 2017 – Present
Daniel Shribman   37   Director (8)   June 11, 2021 – Present
Carlo Zola   43   Director (9)   June 11, 2021 – Present

 

  (1) Mr. Levinsohn held the title of Chief Executive Officer of Sports Illustrated from September 2019 until his appointment as our Chief Executive Officer and a director on August 26, 2020.
  (2) Mr. Edmondson previously held the title of our Chief Operating Officer from August 2018 until December 2019. Mr. Edmondson also served as President from October 10, 2019 until February 18, 2021; however, on February 18, 2021, the role of President was split into two offices, President, Platform, which Mr. Edmondson holds, and President, Media.
  (3) Mr. Kraft previously held the title of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer from December 2018 until December 2019.
  (4) Mr. Fichthorn is the Chairman of our Compensation Committee and serves on our Audit Committee and Special Finance and Governance Committee.
  (5) Mr. Mills is the Chairman of our Audit Committee and serves on our Compensation Committee and Special Finance and Governance Committee.
  (6) Mr. Sims is the Chairman of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and serves on our Audit Committee.
  (7) Ms. Sen is a member of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
  (8) Mr. Shribman serves on our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Special Finance and Governance Committee.
  (9) Mr. Zola serves on our Compensation Committee.

 

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Former Officers and Directors

 

The following table includes the names, ages, and titles of our directors and executive officers who served as a director or executive officer during fiscal 2020 but who no longer serve as an executive officer or director.

 

Name   Age   Current Title   Dates in Position or Office
James Heckman   55   Chief Executive Officer and Director (1)   November 4, 2016 – August 26, 2020
William Sornsin   59   Chief Operating Officer   November 4, 2016 – August 23, 2018; December 9, 2019 – September 4, 2020
Benjamin Joldersma   43   Chief Technology Officer   November 4, 2016 – September 30, 2020
Joshua Jacobs   50   Director (2)   May 31, 2017 – March 9, 2021
David Bailey   30   Director   January 28, 2018 – June 10, 2021
Eric Semler   56   Director   March 9, 2021 – June 8, 2021

 

  (1) On August 26, 2020, Mr. Levinsohn replaced Mr. Heckman as our Chief Executive Officer and as a director.
  (2) Mr. Jacobs previously served as our Executive Chairman from May 2017 until August 2018 and served as our President from January 2018 until October 2019. Mr. Jacobs terminated his employment with us in December 2019. He continued to serve as a director until March 9, 2021.

 

Biographical Information on Officers and Directors

 

Ross Levinsohn has served as our Chief Executive Officer and a director since August 26, 2020. Mr. Levinsohn joined us on June 14, 2019 as the Chief Executive Officer of Sports Illustrated. Mr. Levinsohn also served as one of our directors briefly in 2017. Mr. Levinsohn was an executive with Tribune Publishing from August 21, 2017 until January 17, 2019, serving first as the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Times and then as the Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Interactive. He was the managing partner of Whisper Partners, an advisory firm, from June 2016 to August 2017. Mr. Levinsohn also previously served as Chief Executive Officer at Guggenheim Digital Media from January 2013 to June 2014, overseeing brands including The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard Magazine. He served in various executive positions at Yahoo! Inc. (“Yahoo!”), a global internet company, from October 2010 to August 2012, including as the Interim Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President, Head of Global Media and Head of the Americas. Mr. Levinsohn co-founded and served as managing director at Fuse Capital, an investment and strategic equity management firm focused on investing in and building digital media and communications companies, from 2007 to 2010. Prior to his time at Fuse Capital, Mr. Levinsohn spent six years at News Corporation, serving in roles including President of Fox Interactive Media and Senior Vice President of Fox Sports Interactive. Earlier in his career, Mr. Levinsohn held senior management positions with AltaVista, CBS Sportsline and HBO. We believe that Mr. Levinsohn is qualified to serve as one of our directors because of his vast executive experience with various media companies and his understanding of our business through his service as our Chief Executive Officer.

 

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Paul Edmondson has served as President of Platform since February 16, 2021, the date on which we split our President role into two separate officer roles. Prior to this appointment, he served as our President since October 10, 2019. Beginning on February 16, 2021, Mr. Edmondson’s role as President will be overseeing the Maven Platform operations. Mr. Edmondson also served as our Chief Operating Officer from August 23, 2018 until December 9, 2019. Mr. Edmondson oversees our platform business that offers the core content management system, programmatic advertising technology and multitenant subscription stack for publishers serving partner publishers and our owned and operated properties. Mr. Edmondson joined the Company with the acquisition of HubPages, where he served as Founder and Chief Executive Officer beginning in January 2006. Prior to HubPages, he served as the Group Product Manager for Microsoft Corporation’s MSN Entertainment. He joined Microsoft Corporation with the acquisition of MongoMusic, Inc., and prior to that he developed applications for Hewlett-Packard Company.

 

Douglas Smith has served as our Chief Financial Officer since May 3, 2019. Before joining us, Mr. Smith served as the Chief Financial Officer of Ashworth College from March 2016 to April 2019. Mr. Smith also served as the Chief Financial Officer of Scout Media from May 2015 to March 2016, GLM Shows from November 2011 to May 2014, EducationDynamics from July 2009 to November 2011, Datran Media from June 2005 to December 2008, and Peppers & Rogers Group from October 2000 to May 2005. From May 1993 to October 2000, Mr. Smith served as Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Primedia. Prior to his corporate experience, Mr. Smith served as the Senior Vice President of the Bank of New York from June 1982 to May 1993. Mr. Smith earned his Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Business School and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Connecticut College.

 

Andrew Kraft has served as our Chief Operating Officer since October 1, 2020. Mr. Kraft joined us in December 2018 and served in a variety of senior leadership roles before transitioning to a consulting role from April 2020 through October 2020, when he rejoined us as a full-time employee. Prior to joining us, Mr. Kraft served in a variety of roles on the executive team of Xandr, a division of AT&T Inc., formerly known as AppNexus, for seven years, including as the head of Business and Corporate Development, as a co-founder of the company’s publisher business and head of Publisher Strategy, and as the Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Mr. Kraft was the Senior Vice President, AMP & Publisher Solutions for Collective, where he led business development for the company’s audience management and monetization platform. Mr. Kraft studied Physics and Theater at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Avi Zimak has served as our Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Global Strategic Partnerships since December 9, 2019. Before joining us, Mr. Zimak served as the Chief Revenue Officer & Publisher of New York Media from March 2017 to December 2019. From September 2012 to January 2015, Mr. Zimak served as the Vice President of Sales of North America for Outbrain. Mr. Zimak also served as the General Manager of The Americas for Outbrain from January 2015 to February 2017. He served on various management teams at Hearst Corporation from August 2007 to September 2012 and worked toward the launch and oversight of the Hearst App Lab. Mr. Zimak served in national sales roles for Condé Nast from 2003 to 2007, Time Inc. from 2001 to 2003, Advance Publications American City Business Journals from 1998 to 2001, and Ziff Davis from 1997 to 1998. Mr. Zimak received his Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1997.

 

Jill Marchisotto has served as our Chief Marketing Officer since October 1, 2020. She also served as our Chief Consumer Marketing & Membership Officer from November 2019 until October 2020. Ms. Marchisotto joined us in 2019 with our acquisition of TheStreet, where she led the consumer subscription business and marketing strategy for the brand’s suite of products, including Jim Cramer’s popular investment club. Her roles with TheStreet included Executive Director, Consumer Marketing from October 2017 until October 2019; Senior Director of Marketing from February 2017 until October 2017; and Director of Marketing from May 2016 until January 2017. From May 2013 to May 2016, Ms. Marchisotto worked on the Consumer Marketing, Retention, and Gift Program for Bloomberg L.P. Prior to that, Ms. Marchisotto worked extensively in both digital and print media and served in various marketing roles at Conde Nast and Wenner Media.

 

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H. Robertson Barrett has served as our President of Media since February 16, 2021. Before joining us, Mr. Barrett served as the President, Digital of Hearst Newspapers from January 2016 to February 2021. From February of 2014 to December of 2015, Mr. Barrett served as the Vice President of Media Strategy and Operations at Yahoo!, and from May 2011 through January of 2014, as Vice President of Yahoo! News and Yahoo! Finance. Mr. Barrett served as Chief Strategy Officer of Perfect Market, Inc., an IdeaLab company, from January 2010 through May 2011. He served in general management positions at Tribune Company from 2005 to 2009, including Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital, for The Los Angeles Times from January 2005 through May 2008 and Executive Vice President, Tribune Interactive, from May 2008 through December 2009. Mr. Barrett had earlier digital management roles as Vice President and General Manager of Primedia Inc.’s ChannelOne.com from 1998 to 1999, as Vice President and General Manager of The FeedRoom, Inc., a broadband video venture backed by NBC and Tribune, from 1999 to 2001, and as a co-founder of Time.com, as Deputy Editor, in 1994 and 1995 and of ABCNews.com, as Managing Producer from 1996 to 1998. Mr. Barrett received a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient Greek from Duke University in 1988 and a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1994.

 

James Heckman served as our Chief Executive Officer and one of our directors from November 4, 2016 until his resignation on August 26, 2020. Mr. Heckman also served as our President from November 2016 through December 2017. Mr. Heckman has extensive experience in Internet media, advertising, video, and online communities. He was the Chief Executive Officer of North American Membership Group, Inc., including its subsidiary Scout Media, Inc., from October 2013 to May 2016, and Chairman of the board of directors from May 2016 to July 2016. From April 2011 to August 2012, Mr. Heckman served as Head of Global Media Strategy for Yahoo!. He was previously the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 5to1, an advertising platform, from August, 2008 through its 2011 sale to Yahoo!; Chief Strategy Officer of Zazzle.com from 2007 to 2008; Chief Strategy Officer of FOX Interactive Media from 2005 to 2007, where he architected the ad alliance between Myspace; Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Scout.com, from April 2001 through to its sale to FOX Interactive Media in September 2005; Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rivals.com from 1997 to 2000; and President and Publisher of NFL Exclusive, official publication for every NFL team, from 1991 to 1998. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington.

 

Joshua Jacobs served as a member of our Board from May 31, 2017 until March 9, 2021. Mr. Jacobs also served as President from January 1, 2018 to October 10, 2019, as Executive Chairman from May 1, 2017 until January 27, 2018. He has served as a member of the board of directors of Resonant Inc., a late-stage software development company located in Goleta, California, since June 2018, and as a member of the board of directors of Logiq, a global e-commerce, mCommerce, MarTech and Fintech enablement platform, since September 2020. Mr. Jacobs served as a member of the board of directors of Invoca, Inc., a private company focused on conversation intelligence software, from June 2012 until December 2020. Mr. Jacobs was the President, Services at Kik Interactive from May 2015 to December 2016. From June 2011 to April 2014, Mr. Jacobs was Chief Executive Officer of Accuen Media, an Omnicom Company. From September 2009 to April 2011, Mr. Jacobs was Senior Vice President of Marketing for Glam Media. From July 2007 to October 2009, Mr. Jacobs was the Vice President and General Manager of Advertising Platforms at Yahoo!. He has also held leadership positions at X1 Technologies and Bigstep. Mr. Jacobs also serves on the board of directors of the following public companies: Resonant Inc. (Nasdaq) and Logiq Inc. (OTCQX). We believe that Mr. Jacobs is qualified to serve as one of our directors because of his expertise and experience in digital media, technology, and advertising businesses.

 

William Sornsin was one of our founders and served as our Chief Operating Officer from November 2016 through August 2018, and then again from December 2019 until September 2020. Prior to joining us, Mr. Sornsin served as the Chief Technology Officer of North American Membership Group, Inc., including its subsidiary Scout Media, Inc., from October 2013 to January 2016, and as the Chief Operating Officer from January 2016 to July 2016. Mr. Sornsin ran MSN’s Core Technology team before joining Mr. Heckman in 1999 as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Rivals.com. In 2001, he became co-founder and Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the original Scout.com and served as the Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Fox Interactive Media after the acquisition of Scout Media, Inc. in 2005. Prior to his service at Rivals.com and Scout Media, Inc., Mr. Sornsin held a variety of roles at Microsoft, including Group Manager of MSN Core Technology and Product Planning Lead for Microsoft Exchange. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical/Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California – Los Angeles.

 

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Benjamin Joldersma served as our Chief Technology Officer from November 2016 until September 2020. Mr. Joldersma has developed a deep expertise in large-scale systems, rapid development, and online product innovation. He served as the Chief Technology Officer of North American Membership Group, Inc., including its subsidiary Scout Media, Inc., from January 2016 to July 2016, and as the Chief Product Officer, responsible for product vision and all software engineering, from October 2013 to January 2016. Mr. Joldersma was a Senior Software Engineer at Google from December 2012 to October 2013, working on imagery-related products under the Geo organization, and Principal Software Engineer at Yahoo! from June 2011 to December 2012, working on advertising platform technology. He was a System Architect at 5to1 from August 2008 through its June 2011 sale to Yahoo!. Mr. Joldersma was the founder of Skull Squadron, a company at which he held software architecture and engineering positions from 2007 to 2009; was a founder of All-In-One Creations from 2004 to 2007; served as a software engineer at aQuantive in 2006; as a software design engineer at Pacific Edge Software in 2005; as a lead software architect at Scout Media, Inc. from 2001 to 2005; as a web developer at Rivals.com from 1999 to 2001; and as a web design engineer at Microsoft from 1998 to 1999. He studied Computer Science at the University of Puget Sound.

 

Peter Mills has served as one of our directors since September 2006. Mr. Mills is an entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since October 2016, he has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Track3t, a company developing automated indoor location services for manufacturers and distributors. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Cimbal, Inc., a startup company developing a mobile payments system in Los Altos, California, from March 2014 to December 2016. From May 2004 until December 2012, he was Vice President of Sales at Speck Design, a leading product design firm with offices in Palo Alto, California. From July 2007 to April 2008, Mr. Mills served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the board of directors of Integrated, our predecessor. He spent 15 years selling sophisticated industrial robotics and automation systems with Omron Adept Technology, Inc. (formerly known as Adept Technology, Inc.), the leading U.S. manufacturer of industrial robots, and Hewlett-Packard Company. He also served as the Vice President of Sales from October 2000 to September 2001 at Softchain, an enterprise supply chain software company acquired by RiverOne, Inc. in 2001, which was later acquired by i2 Technologies, Inc. in 2006. Mr. Mills has significant experience with respect to the design and manufacturing needs of a variety of industries including medical devices, disk drives, consumer products, food packaging, printers, computers and networking, and semiconductor equipment. He has extensive international business experience in Japan, Singapore, and Korea. Mr. Mills earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in engineering, cum laude, from Dartmouth College. We believe Mr. Mills is qualified to serve as one of our directors because of his prior management experience and significant business experience within a variety of technology-driven industries.

 

Todd Sims has served as a member of our Board since August 23, 2018. Mr. Sims has served as the President of B. Riley Venture Capital (“BRVC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of B. Riley since October 2020. Prior to his current position with BRVC, Mr. Sims served as a member of B. Riley’s board of directors from 2016 to 2020. Prior to his role at BRVC, Mr. Sims spent 10 years as Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy of Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world, overseeing business and corporate development for its ticketing business, AXS Digital, LLC. Prior to that, Mr. Sims spent more than 15 years building Internet businesses. In the mid-1990s, Mr. Sims served as ESPN’s executive producer of NFL.com, NBA.com, and NASCAR Online. Mr. Sims also served on the management team of eCompanies, LLC, an incubator which has incubated a number of companies including Jamdat Mobile Inc. (acquired by Electronic Arts Inc.), Business.com Inc. (acquired by R.H. Donnelley Corp.), and Boingo Wireless, Inc. Mr. Sims serves as an advisor to the Los Angeles Dodgers Tech Accelerator and was a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Mr. Sims graduated from Colorado College in 1992. Mr. Sims’ digital media experience provides an important resource to our Board and qualifies him for service as a director.

 

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John A. Fichthorn is our Executive Chairman and has served as a member of our Board since August 23, 2018. Mr. Fichthorn is currently the Founder and Portfolio Manager of MedTex Ventures. From April 2017 to April 2020, Mr. Fichthorn served as Head of B. Riley Alternatives, a division of B. Riley Capital Management, LLC (“B. Riley Capital Management”), which is an SEC-registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of B. Riley. From April 2020 until November 2020, he served as a consultant to B. Riley. Mr. Fichthorn was a Co-Founder of Dialectic Capital Management, LLC, an investment management firm, and has been a portfolio manager of the firm since 2003. Mr. Fichthorn was employed by Maverick Capital from 2000 until 2003, most recently as Managing Director of the technology group. From 1999 to 2000, Mr. Fichthorn was an analyst at Alliance Capital working across multiple hedge fund products and as a member of the technology team. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Fichthorn was an analyst at Quilcap Corporation, a short-biased hedge fund where he covered all sectors, with a focus on technology. From 1995 to 1997, Mr. Fichthorn worked at Ganek & Orwicz Partners. Mr. Fichthorn is the lead independent director of Quantum Corporation since April of 2019, and he was a Director of Health Insurance Innovations (also known as Benefytt Corporation), Inc. from Dec 2017 until the company’s sale in August of 2020. Mr. Fichthorn also served on the boards of California Micro Devices and Immersion Corporation as well as several private company boards. Mr. Fichthorn has significant experience in accounting and financial matters with the unique perspective of representing the interests of stockholders on several public company boards, all of which qualify him for service as one of our directors.

 

B. Rinku Sen has served as one of our directors since November 3, 2017. Ms. Sen is a writer and a political strategist. She is currently the Executive Director of Narrative Initiative. She was formerly Executive Director and as Publisher of their award-winning news site Colorlines. She was also a James O. Gibson Innovation Fellow at PolicyLink. Her books Stir it Up and The Accidental American theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, including the Women’s March, where she is co-President, The Nation editorial board, and the Foundation for National Progress, and is publisher of Mother Jones magazine. We believe that Ms. Sen is qualified to serve as a director because of her experience and qualifications as a journalist, publisher, and political activist, as well as her experience in serving on many non-profit boards, including leadership positions in governance, finance, and executive committees.

 

Daniel Shribman has served as one of our directors since June 11, 2021. He has served as the Chief Investment Officer of B. Riley since 2019 and President of its B. Riley Principal Investments subsidiary, which acquires, invests, and operates companies with a focus on maximizing cash flows through operational expertise, since 2018. Mr. Shribman has served as a member of the board of directors of Alta Equipment Group Inc. (NYSE: ALTG) since February 2020 and as a member of the board of directors and audit committee chair of Eos Energy Enterprises (Nasdaq: EOSE) since November 2020. ALTG and EOSE previously completed successful business combinations with two special purpose acquisition companies (or SPACs), B. Riley Principal Merger and B. Riley Principal Merger II, sponsored by a subsidiary of B. Riley. Mr. Shribman has served as the Chief Executive Officer of B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp. and B. Riley Principal 250 Merger Corp. since April 2021 and May 2021, respectively. Prior to joining B. Riley, Mr. Shribman was a Portfolio Manager at Anchorage Capital Group, L.L.C., a special situation asset manager with over $15 billion in assets under management. During his tenure, he led investments in dozens of public and private opportunities across the general industrials, transportation, automotive, aerospace, gaming, hospitality and real estate industries. These investments ranged from public equities and bonds to deeply distressed securities, par bank debt, minority owned private equity, and majority owned private equity. Mr. Shribman obtained a MA degree in Economics and History from Dartmouth College. We believe that Mr. Shribman is qualified to serve as a director because of his previous experience working in close collaboration with management teams and boards to maximize shareholder value in the form of both operational turnarounds, capital markets financings and communication and capital deployment initiatives.

 

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Carlo Zola has served as one of our directors since June 11, 2021. He is an investment professional with over 19 years of active experience in the financial markets. Mr. Zola started his professional career in 2002 as a research analyst at Intermonte SIM in Milan, the leading independent Italian investment bank. In 2004, Mr. Zola started working at the largest fund management company in the world with over $2 trillion under management, Capital Group, where he held positions as analyst and portfolio manager in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and London. Over 13 years at Capital Group, Mr. Zola successfully managed a portfolio of over $1 billion in assets, with responsibilities in global and income mandates as well as more focused mandates in Media, Metals and Mining, Chemicals and Real Estate (REITs). During the last 3 years at Capital Group, Mr. Zola also served as Research Portfolio Coordinator (RPC) overseeing investments by a team of over 20 analysts for one of its Growth and Income funds. An early investor in crypto currencies, Mr. Zola left Capital Group in 2018 and has been a founding partner at Paladin Trust, a leading Trust and Custodian business dedicated to the crypto markets founded in 2018. Since January 2020, Mr. Zola is a founding partner at Percival Ventures, an investment firm based in Puerto Rico, focused on early stage blockchain investments and crypto currencies. In late 2020, Mr. Zola was among the founding partners of Atlas Capital Team, L.P. an asset management company in which he retains an active position as Portfolio Manager with a mandate focused on Real Estate and ESG investments. Finally, Mr. Zola serves as a principal of Warlock Partners, LLC (“Warlock”) and of Roundtable Media L.L.C. (“Roundtable Media”). Mr. Zola holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, where he graduated Summa cum Laude in 2002 and a Master’s degree in management from CEMS, the Community of European Management Schools, which he attended at ESADE in Barcelona, Spain. We believe that Mr. Zola is qualified to serve as a director because of his extensive financial market experience.

 

David Bailey served as one of our directors from January 28, 2018 until his resignation on June 10, 2021. Since 2013, Mr. Bailey has served as the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BTC Inc., which is an industry leader in the digital currency and blockchain space. Through its subsidiaries, BTC Inc. is the publisher of the world’s leading digital (Bitcoin Magazine, Distributed, and Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network) and print publications (Distributed Magazine and yBitcoin Magazine) dedicated to the cryptocurrency and blockchain spaces, an internationally recognized conference series, a blockchain venture studio, a marketing firm and more. Through his guidance, the company has reached millions of readers, facilitated dozens of clients and pioneered technology that is helping build the future. Mr. Bailey is also a board member of Po.et, a shared, open, universal ledger designed to record metadata and ownership information for digital creative assets. After a highly successful token sale and the first wave of publishers integrating with Po.et, the platform is poised to become a new standard for rewarding content creators and publishers alike. Mr. Bailey is also a member of the board of directors of Blockchain Education Network, sits on the board of advisors for the University of Alabama, and since September 2019 has been the general partner of UTXO Management. Mr. Bailey is a graduate of the University of Alabama. We believe that Mr. Bailey was qualified to serve as a director because of his experience in print and digital publications.

 

Eric Semler served as one of our directors from March 9, 2021 until his resignation on June 8, 2021. Mr. Semler is a longtime investor in technology and media. Mr. Semler serves as the Managing Member of TCS Capital Management LLC (“TCS Capital Management”), a hedge fund that he founded in 2001. TCS Capital Management is among the largest independent technology, media and telecommunications investment funds with assets of $3.4 billion. In 2019, Mr. Semler and his spouse, Tracy, partnered with NBA parents Dell and Sonya Curry in founding and developing the Raising Fame podcast franchise. Prior to founding TCS Capital Management, Mr. Semler worked as an analyst from 1998 to 2000 for Georgica Advisors, an investment fund focused on media and communications stocks. From 1997 to 1998, he was an investment banking principal in the media and communications group at Montgomery Securities. From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Semler focused on mergers and acquisitions as an associate at James D. Wolfensohn & Co. Mr. Semler began his career as a journalist working for the New York Times and for the Moscow News in Russia. He is the co-author of two books published by Harper Collins: The Language of Nuclear War and The Businessman’s Guide to Moscow. Mr. Semler is the founder and chairman of the Bronx Baseball Dreams Foundation, which is a charitable organization that helps New York City youth develop baseball and academic skills to earn college baseball scholarships. He also serves on the board of directors of 8th Wall, a Palo Alto start-up company focused on creating augmented reality products. Mr. Semler has previously served on two public company boards: Angie’s List and Geeknet.com. He also served as a board member of dealtime.com, Classic Media, Channel 13/WNET TV, WNYC Radio, Wave Hill, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and the Dwight School. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Mr. Semler received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1987 and his J.D. and M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1994. Mr. Semler’s extensive experience as an investor in the technology and media industries qualified him to serve as a member of our Board.

 

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Family Relationships

 

There are no family relationships among any of our directors or executive officers.

 

Involvement in Certain Legal Proceedings

 

None of our directors and executive officers has been involved in any legal or regulatory proceedings, as set forth in Item 401 of Regulation S-K, during the past ten years.

 

Delinquent Section 16(a) Reports

 

Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act requires our officers, directors, and persons who own more than ten percent of a class of our equity securities that is registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act within specified time periods to file certain reports of ownership and changes in ownership with the SEC. Officers, directors, and ten-percent stockholders are required by regulation to furnish us with copies of all Section 16(a) forms they file. Based solely on a review of copies of the reports furnished to us and written representations from persons concerning the necessity to file these reports, we believe that all reports required to be filed pursuant to Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act during fiscal 2020 were filed with the SEC on a timely basis, except for the following:

 

Reporting Person (9)  Number of Late
Reports
   Number of Transactions
Not Reported On a Timely Basis
   Number of Known
Failures to File Required
Form
 
John Fichthorn (1)   3         3    0 
Ross Levinsohn (2)   1    5    0 
Peter Mills (3)   1    1    0 
Joshua Jacobs (4)   1    1    0 
B. Rinku Sen (5)   1    1    0 
David Bailey (6)   1    1    0 
Todd Sims (7)   2    2    0 
Paul Edmonson (8)   1    4    1 
Douglas Smith   0    0    0 
James Heckman   0    0    0 
Benjamin Joldersma   0    0    0 
Avi Zimak   0    0    0 
William Sornsin   0    0    0 
H. Robertson Barrett (10)   -    -    - 
Eric Semler (10)   -    -    - 
Jill Marchisotto (11)   2    3    0 
Andrew Kraft (12)   1    3    0 
Carlo Zola (10)   -    -    - 
Daniel Shribman (10)   -    -    - 

 

  (1) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, three reports.
  (2) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report.
  (3) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report.
  (4) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report.
  (5) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report.
  (6) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report.
  (7) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, two reports.
  (8) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report (consisting of the failure to file a Form 4 to report 4 transactions, all of which occurred on December 31, 2020).

 

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  (9) To our knowledge, B. Riley FBR, and its affiliates, 180 Degree Capital Corp., and Mark E. Strome, each of which is currently or was previously a greater than 10% stockholder, timely filed all of their respective Section 16 filings. The table does not include any information related to any of our other greater than 10% stockholders as we do not have any knowledge as to any delinquent or missing Section 16 filings for such stockholders.
  (10) Messrs. Barrett, Semler, Zola, and Shribman were all appointed during fiscal 2021 and did not serve in their respective capacities during fiscal 2020.
  (11) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, two reports.
  (12) Delinquent reports include: for 2020, one report.

 

Code of Ethics

 

A Code of Ethics and Business Conduct that applies to our executive officers and other employees, was approved and adopted by our Board on January 1, 2020. Subsequently, our Board adopted an Amended and Restated Business Code of Ethics and Conduct (the “Code of Ethics”) and a Code of Ethics for Financial Officers (the “Senior Officer Code”), which applies to the Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Chief Accounting Officer, Director Accounting, and Corporate Controller, on March 9, 2021. Copies of the Code of Ethics and Senior Officer Code may be obtained free of charge by written request to TheMaven, Inc., attention Chief Financial Officer, 225 Liberty Street, 27th Floor, New York, New York 10281. We have also filed copies of the Code of Ethics and Senior Officer Code as exhibits to this Annual Report.

 

Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee

 

We have not adopted any material changes to the procedures by which security holders may recommend nominees to our Board.

 

Audit Committee

 

The Audit Committee of our Board was formed September 14, 2018. The Audit Committee assists our Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee (a) the integrity of our financial statements, our accounting and financial reporting processes and financial statement audits, (b) our compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (c) our systems of internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures, (d) the independent auditor’s engagement, qualifications, performance, compensation, and independence, (e) review and approval of related party transactions, and (f) the communication among our independent auditors, our financial, and senior management and our Board. The Audit Committee currently consists of Peter Mills, who serves as its Chairman, John Fichthorn, and Todd Sims. Our Board has determined that Mr. Mills, the Chairman of the Audit Committee, is an “audit committee financial expert” as defined under SEC rules.

 

Item 11. Executive Compensation

 

The following table sets forth certain compensation awarded to, earned by, or paid to the following “named executive officers,” which is defined as follows:

 

  (a) all individuals serving as our principal executive officer during the year ended December 31, 2020;
     
  (b) each of our two other most highly compensated executive officers who were serving as executive officers at the end of the year ended December 31, 2020; and
     
  (c) any individuals for whom disclosure would have been required but for the fact that the individual was not serving as an executive officer as of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

56
 

 

Summary Compensation Table

 

(a)
Name and Principal Position
  (b)
Year
   (c)
Salary
   (d)
Bonus
   (f)
Option Awards (1)
   (i)
All Other Compensation
   (j)
Total Compensation
 
Ross Levinsohn   2020   $412,585   $200,000   $-   $-   $612,585 
Chief Executive Officer and Director (2)   2019    -    -    -    -    - 
James Heckman   2020    270,059    -    -    116,667 (3)   386,726 
Former Chief Executive Officer and Director   2019    320,333    105,500    5,803,682    -    6,229,515 
Andrew Kraft   2020    188,659    120,000    -    150,000 (4)   458,659 
Chief Operating Officer and Former Chief Venture Officer   2019    -    -    -    -    - 
Avi Zimak   2020    412,585    77,175    -    

-

   489,760 
Chief Revenue Officer(5)   2019    -    -    -    -    - 

 

  (1) Reflects the fair value of option awards during the years in accordance with FASB ASC 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation (refer to our accompanying consolidated financial statements for valuation assumptions in Note 22, Stock-Based Compensation).
  (2) Mr. Levinsohn was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer in August 2020.
  (3) “All Other Compensation” consists of $116,667 that Mr. Heckman received from September 2020 until December 2020 pursuant to a Separation Agreement and a Consulting Agreement, both of which were entered into in August 2020.
  (4) Mr. Kraft was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in October 2020. “All Other Compensation” consists of $150,000 that Mr. Kraft received pursuant to a Confidential Separation Agreement and General Release (the “Kraft Separation Agreement”) that was signed in April 2020.
  (5) Mr. Zimak was appointed as Chief Revenue Officer in December 2019.

  

Narrative Discussion of Summary Compensation Table of Named Executive Officers

 

The following is a narrative discussion of the material information that we believe is necessary to understand the information disclosed in the foregoing Summary Compensation Table. The following narrative disclosure is separated into sections, with a separate section for each of our named executive officers.

 

With respect to fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2020, each named executive officer received a base salary and was eligible for a stock option award pursuant to either our 2016 Stock Incentive Plan (the “2016 Plan”) or our 2019 Plan. Information on the specific components of the 2016 Plan and the 2019 Plan can be found below under the heading “Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans.”

 

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Ross Levinsohn

 

Stock Option Awards During Fiscal 2020

 

Mr. Levinsohn did not receive any stock option awards during fiscal 2020.

 

Employment Agreements

 

On September 16, 2019, we entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Ross Levinsohn (the “Levinsohn Employment Agreement”). The Levinsohn Employment Agreement contemplated an initial employment term from September 16, 2019 through December 31, 2022, with automatic one-year renewals absent notice from either party. Pursuant to the Levinsohn Employment Agreement, Mr. Levinsohn served as the Chief Executive Officer of Sports Illustrated; President of Maven Media; and a director. Mr. Levinsohn was paid a base salary of $450,000 per annum, subject to an annual adjustment, a one-time signing bonus of $100,000, and was entitled to the same employment benefits available to our employees as well as the reimbursement of business expenses during the term of employment. Mr. Levinsohn was also entitled to certain performance-based annual and quarterly cash bonuses and equity incentive awards. The Levinsohn Employment Agreement provided for various termination events under which he would have been entitled to salary continuance for the remainder of the current term plus one year, including quarterly bonuses for the remainder of the current term, and full, immediate acceleration of vesting of his unvested equity awards. He was also subject to a restrictive covenant on competitive employment during the term of the Levinsohn Employment Agreement, and a restrictive covenant on solicitation of our employees, customers, and vendors for up to six months after termination of the Levinsohn Employment Agreement.

 

On May 1, 2020, we amended the Levinsohn Employment Agreement (the “Amended Levinsohn Employment Agreement”). The Amended Levinsohn Employment Agreement amends the Levinsohn Employment Agreement such that Mr. Levinsohn was to be paid a salary of $427,500 per annum. It also amended the Levinsohn Employment Agreement such that it provided for various termination events under which he would be entitled to eighteen months of salary continuance, including quarterly bonuses for the eighteen-month period. Pursuant to the Amended Levinsohn Employment Agreement, Mr. Levinsohn was to continue to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of Sports Illustrated; President of Maven Media; and a director.

 

On February 18, 2021, we entered into the second amended and restated executive employment agreement (the “Second A&R Employment Agreement”), which was effective as of August 26, 2020, the date on which Mr. Levinsohn was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer. The Second A&R Employment Agreement amends and restates the Levinsohn Employment Agreement and the Amended Levinsohn Employment Agreement. Pursuant to the terms of the Second A&R Employment Agreement, Mr. Levinsohn will continue to serve as our Chief Executive Officer through December 31, 2023, subject to automatic renewal for an additional one-year term, or until the Second A&R Employment Agreement is terminated in accordance with its terms. The Second A&R Employment Agreement provides that Mr. Levinsohn will be paid an annual base salary of $550,000, subject to annual review by our Board, and, should any member of our leadership receive an increase in their annual salary, he will receive an increase in base salary equal to that percentage increase. Mr. Levinsohn is also eligible to earn an annual bonus based on a target bonus amount of $1 million, which will be earned and payable upon the completion of certain performance thresholds. He is also eligible to participate in the 2019 Plan and is entitled to the same employment benefits available to our employees, as well as to the reimbursement of business expenses during his term of employment. The Second A&R Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Levinsohn would be entitled to annual bonuses earned but not yet paid and salary continuation through December 31, 2023, or the end of any renewal term, if applicable, but in no event will he be eligible to less than twelve months of salary continuation and reimbursement of 18 consecutive months of COBRA costs. Mr. Levinsohn is also subject to restrictive covenants on solicitation of employees, solicitation of customers, use of trade secrets, non-disparagement, and competition.

 

58
 

 

James Heckman

 

Stock Option Awards During Fiscal 2019 and Fiscal 2020

 

Grant Date  Number of Options   Exercise Price Per Share 
4/10/2019(1)  14,509,205(2)  $0.46 

 

(1) Grant of stock options pursuant to the 2019 Plan.
(2) Originally, shares of our common stock underlying the stock options vested one-third on the first anniversary of the grant date, with the remaining vesting monthly over the next two years, subject to certain stock price conditions. Pursuant to the 2019 Amendment (as defined below), 2,000,000 shares were vested as of June 3, 2021, with the remaining portion subject to performance-vesting based on the Company’s stock price.

 

Employment and Other Agreements

 

On November 4, 2016, we entered into an employment agreement with Mr. James Heckman (the “Heckman Employment Agreement”). The Heckman Employment Agreement contemplated an employment term of a period of three years beginning on July 18, 2016, with Mr. Heckman serving as our Chief Executive Officer, President, and a director. Mr. Heckman was paid a base salary of $300,000 per annum, subject to an annual adjustment by our Board, and was entitled to the same employment benefits available to our employees as well as the reimbursement of business expenses during the term of employment. The Heckman Employment Agreement provided for various termination events under which he would have been entitled to one year’s severance equal to his annual salary amount. He is also subject to a restrictive covenant on competitive employment for up to two years after termination of the Heckman Employment Agreement, so long as we continue to pay his annual salary amount during that period, and a restrictive covenant on solicitation of our employees, customers, and vendors for up to one year after termination of the Heckman Employment Agreement. Mr. Heckman resigned as our Chief Executive Officer and a director on August 26, 2020 and we entered into a Separation Agreement with him with respect to his service in those positions. On the same date, we entered into a Consulting Agreement with Mr. Heckman, pursuant to which Mr. Heckman will serve as a consultant for a one-year period beginning on August 26, 2020. On June 3, 2021, Maven Coalition and Mr. Heckman amended and restated the consulting agreement (the “Heckman Amendment”). Pursuant to the Heckman Amendment, Mr. Heckman agreed to provide certain strategic advisory services to Maven Coalition in exchange for a monthly fee of approximately $57,895 per month (the “Heckman Monthly Fee”), beginning in February 2021 through the remainder of the term of the Heckman Amendment, or August 2022. The Heckman Monthly Fee payments may be partially accelerated in the event of certain financings. In addition, Mr. Heckman’s eligibility to be retained by Maven Coalition, and provide services pursuant to the Heckman Amendment, is conditioned upon Mr. Heckman’s execution of, and not subsequently revoking, a General Release and Continuing Obligations Agreement (“GRCOA”) between Mr. Heckman, Maven Coalition, Maven Media, TheStreet, Heckman Media, LLC, and us. The GRCOA addresses certain agreements between the parties related to certain stock options previously granted by us to Mr. Heckman and voting agreements related to the shares issuable upon exercise of those options, among other items. Pursuant to the terms of the GRCOA, we amended that certain 2016 Stock Incentive Plan Option Agreement dated September 14, 2018 (the “Original 2016 Option”) and that certain 2019 Equity Incentive Plan Option Agreement dated April 10, 2019 (the “Original 2019 Option”). The amendment to the Original 2016 Option (the “2016 Amendment”) clarifies that the option qualifies as a non-statutory stock option and that it remains exercisable for the remainder of the term of the option. The amendment to the Original 2019 Option (the “2019 Amendment”) also clarifies that the option qualifies as a non-statutory stock option and that it remains exercisable for the remainder of the term of the option. The 2019 Amendment also changed the vesting schedule of the option to provide for immediate vesting of a portion of the option, with the remainder of the option being subject to performance-based vesting that is tied to the price of our common stock.

 

Andrew Kraft

 

Stock Option Awards During Fiscal 2020

 

Mr. Kraft did not receive any stock option awards during fiscal 2020.

 

59
 

 

Employment Agreement

 

On December 13, 2018, we entered into an executive employment agreement with Mr. Andrew Kraft (the “2018 Kraft Employment Agreement”). The 2018 Kraft Employment Agreement contemplated a term that commenced on December 13, 2018 and continued indefinitely until it was terminated in accordance with the provisions of the 2018 Kraft Employment Agreement. The 2018 Kraft Employment Agreement provided that Mr. Kraft would serve as the Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer. Mr. Kraft was paid an annual salary of $300,000, subject to annual review by our Board. Mr. Kraft was also eligible for annual and quarterly bonuses upon the achievement of certain performance objectives. He was also eligible to receive time- and performance-based stock option awards. On January 1, 2020, we amended and restated the 2018 Kraft Employment Agreement (the “Amended Kraft Employment Agreement”). Pursuant to the Amended Kraft Employment Agreement, Mr. Kraft served as our Chief Venture Officer and received an annual salary of $360,000, subject to annual review by our Board. The Amended Kraft Employment Agreement also contemplated an employment term that terminated on April 10, 2020, unless otherwise terminated by the parties.

 

On April 10, 2020, we entered into the Kraft Separation Agreement. Pursuant to the Kraft Separation Agreement, we agreed to pay Mr. Kraft a severance payment of $150,000 upon his termination as an employee on April 10, 2020, such payment being paid in lieu of any amounts which may have been owed to Mr. Kraft pursuant to the Amended Kraft Employment Agreement. The Kraft Separation Agreement also provided for accelerated vesting of certain of the option awards granted to Mr. Kraft in connection with his employment with us. It also provided that Mr. Kraft would be subject to certain post-employment obligations, including those provided by the Amended Kraft Employment Agreement, as well as confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-disparagement obligations. Mr. Kraft also agreed to a general release of claims against us, and we agreed to a limited release of claims against Mr. Kraft, including certain claims against Mr. Kraft arising in connection with his employment with us.

 

On April 11, 2020, we entered into a consulting agreement with Mr. Kraft (the “Kraft Consulting Agreement”). Pursuant to the Kraft Consulting Agreement, Mr. Kraft would perform consulting services for us beginning on April 11, 2020 until either party provided notice of termination to the other party. The Kraft Consulting Agreement provided that Mr. Kraft would be paid $10,000 per month for the performance of consulting services as an independent contractor.

 

On October 1, 2020, we entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Kraft (the “2020 Kraft Employment Agreement”). The 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement contemplated a term that commenced on October 1, 2020 and continues indefinitely until it is terminated in accordance with the provisions of the 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement. The 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement provides that Mr. Kraft will serve as our Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Kraft will be paid an annualized salary of $380,000 under the 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement, subject to annual review by the Board, with a reduction of 15% during the month of October 2020. Mr. Kraft is also eligible for annual bonuses of up to $220,000, payable in quarterly payments and subject to achievement of certain performance metrics, except that Mr. Kraft was guaranteed to receive the full pro rata amount of the quarterly payments for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 and the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Further, he is eligible to receive stock option awards under the 2019 Plan and is entitled to the same employment benefits available to our employees, as well as the reimbursement of business expenses during his term of employment. The 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Kraft would be entitled to 50% of his annualized salary, his annual bonus based on 100% of goal attainment, payment for bonuses already earned, and immediate acceleration of the vesting of any unvested time or stock price target options. Mr. Kraft is also subject to restrictive covenants on solicitation of employees and customers for a period of one year after the termination of the 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement and on competition and use of trade secrets during his employment with us.

 

On February 22, 2021, effective January 1, 2021, we amended and restated the 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement (the “A&R Kraft Agreement”). Pursuant to the terms of the A&R Kraft Agreement, Mr. Kraft will continue to serve as our Chief Operating Officer indefinitely until the A&R Kraft Agreement is terminated in accordance with its terms. The A&R Kraft Agreement provides that Mr. Kraft will be paid an annual base salary of $380,000, subject to annual review by our Board. Mr. Kraft is also eligible to earn an annual bonus equal to $220,000 based on attainment of certain performance metrics. He is also eligible to participate in the 2019 Plan and is entitled to the same employment benefits available to the employees, as well as to the reimbursement of business expenses during his term of employment. The A&R Kraft Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Kraft would be entitled to one year’s severance equal to his annual salary and bonus amounts based on achievement of 100% of his personal goals. Mr. Kraft is also subject to restrictive covenants on solicitation of employees, solicitation of customers, use of trade secrets, and competition with the Company for a period of up to one year after termination of the A&R Kraft Agreement.

 

Avi Zimak

 

Stock Option Awards During Fiscal 2020

 

Mr. Zimak did not receive any stock option awards during fiscal 2020.

 

60
 

 

Employment Agreement

 

On November 2, 2019, we entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Avi Zimak (the “Zimak Employment Agreement”), pursuant to which Mr. Zimak agreed to serve as our Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Global Strategic Partnerships beginning on November 2, 2019 and continuing for a period of two years. The Zimak Employment Agreement provides that Mr. Zimak is paid an annual salary of $450,000, subject to annual review by our Chief Executive Officer, and is entitled to the same employment benefits available to our employees as well as the reimbursement of business expenses during the term of employment. Pursuant to the Zimak Employment Agreement, Mr. Zimak received a one-time signing bonus equal to $250,000. Mr. Zimak is also eligible for an annual bonus of up to $450,000 based upon the achievement of certain performance objectives, a ten-year option to purchase up to 2,250,000 shares of our common stock pursuant to the 2019 Plan, vesting in accordance with the achievement of certain performance objectives, and an award of restricted stock units relating to 250,000 shares of our common stock. The Zimak Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which he would be entitled to salary continuance for the longer of (i) the remainder of the term of the Zimak Employment Agreement or (ii) one year following the date of the termination, and all of the shares of our common stock underlying the restricted stock units awarded to Mr. Zimak pursuant to the Zimak Employment Agreement. He is also subject to a restrictive covenant on solicitation of employees for a period of one year after the termination of the Zimak Employment Agreement and a restrictive covenant on solicitation of customers during the term of the Zimak Employment Agreement and for a period of one year following the termination of his employment.

 

On June 14, 2020, the parties entered into an Amended & Restated Executive Employment Agreement (the “Zimak Amended Agreement”). Pursuant to the terms of the Zimak Amended Agreement, Mr. Zimak’s annual salary was reduced to $427,500 effective April 1, 2020 and then further reduced to $363,375, effective June 14, 2020 until December 31, 2020. Beginning January 1, 2021, Mr. Zimak’s annual salary was set at $450,000. Pursuant to the terms of the Zimak Amended Agreement, Mr. Zimak would be entitled to an annual base bonus equal to $375,000 for fiscal 2020 and $450,000 for fiscal 2021 and beyond, which bonus could be earned based on certain annual revenue targets. The Zimak Amended Agreement contemplated that to the extent earned, the annual bonus would be paid quarterly based on the achievement in a quarter of a portion of the annual revenue target then in effect. The Zimak Amended Agreement provides for various termination events under which he is entitled to salary continuance for the longer of (i) the remainder of the term of the Zimak Amended Agreement or (ii) one year following the date of the termination, and all of the shares of our common stock underlying the restricted stock units awarded to Mr. Zimak pursuant to the Zimak Employment Agreement. He is also subject to a restrictive covenant on solicitation of employees for a period of one year after the termination of his employment and a restrictive covenant on solicitation of customers during his employment and for a period of one year following the termination of his employment.

 

On February 22, 2021, effective January 1, 2021, the parties entered into a Second Amended and Restated Executive Employment Agreement (the “A&R Zimak Employment Agreement”). Pursuant to the terms of the A&R Zimak Employment Agreement, Mr. Zimak will serve as the Company’s Chief Revenue Officer for a two-year period beginning on January 1, 2021, subject to automatic renewal for one year terms, or until the A&R Zimak Employment Agreement is terminated in accordance with its terms. The A&R Zimak Employment Agreement provides that Mr. Zimak will be paid an annual base salary of $450,000, subject to annual review by our Board. Mr. Zimak is also eligible to earn an annual bonus based on a target bonus amount of $450,000 with respect to calendar years 2021 and beyond, subject to certain performance conditions. Mr. Zimak received a one-time signing bonus in the amount of $250,000, which must be repaid to us in the event Mr. Zimak is terminated for cause or resigns other than for good reason. He is also eligible to participate in the 2019 Plan and is entitled to the same employment benefits available to the employees, as well as to the reimbursement of business expenses during his term of employment. The A&R Zimak Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Zimak would be entitled to salary continuation for up to one year. Mr. Zimak is also subject to restrictive covenants on solicitation of employees, solicitation of customers, use of trade secrets, and competition with us for a period of up to one year after termination of the A&R Zimak Employment Agreement.

 

Director Compensation

 

In fiscal 2020, we compensated our independent directors with equity awards. We also provided additional compensation for a director who acts as chairperson of one or more committees of our Board. A director who is also an executive officer does not receive any additional compensation for these services as a director while providing service as an executive officer. The following table sets forth, for the year ended December 31, 2020, the compensation paid to the members of our Board.

 

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Director Compensation

 

(a)

Name of Director (1)

 

(b)

Fees Earned
or Paid in
Cash

  

(c)

Stock
Awards
(2)

  

(d)

Option
Awards
(3)

  

(g)

All Other Compensation

(include narrative disclosure of amounts) (4)

  

(h)

Total

 
Peter Mills (5)  $6,250   $102,500   $-   $-   $108,750 
David Bailey (6)   6,250    51,250    -    -    57,500 
Rinku Sen (7)   6,250    51,250    -    12,050    69,550 
Todd D. Sims (8)   6,250    102,500    -    -    108,750 
John A. Fichthorn (9)   7,500    102,500    375,000    -    485,000 
Joshua Jacobs (10)   6,250    51,250    -    120,000    177,500 

 

  (1) Mr. Heckman and Mr. Levinsohn are each named executive officers and, accordingly, their compensation is included in the “Summary Compensation Table” above. Neither Mr. Heckman nor Mr. Levinsohn received any compensation for their service as a director for the year ended December 31, 2020.
  (2) Restricted stock awards were issued pursuant to the 2019 Plan and the 2020 Compensation Policies (as defined below). Each of these restricted stock awards were fully vested as of December 31, 2020. The table reflects the fair value amount in accordance with ASC Topic 718.
  (3) Stock option awards were granted to directors pursuant to approval by our Board. For valuation assumptions on stock option awards refer to the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements. The table reflects the fair value amount in accordance with ASC Topic 718.
  (4) The table reflects consulting fees paid to directors.
  (5) As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the stock awards in column (c) were 125,000 shares
  (6) As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the stock awards in column (c) were 62,500 shares.
  (7) “All Other Compensation” includes $12,500 for consulting services performed by Ms. Sen for us during 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the stock awards in column (c) were 62,500 shares.
  (8) As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the stock awards in column (c) were 125,000 shares.
  (9) As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the stock awards in column (c) were 125,000 shares; and the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the option awards in column (d) was 750,000 shares.
  (10) All Other Compensation includes $120,000 for consulting services performed by Mr. Jacobs for us during 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate shares of our common stock underlying the stock awards in column (c) were 62,500 shares.

 

Director Compensation Policies

 

On January 1, 2020, our Board approved and adopted the 2020 Outside Director Compensation Policy (the “January 2020 Compensation Policy”). The January 2020 Compensation Policy applied to non-employee directors (the “Outside Directors”), providing that the Outside Directors would be granted annually a restricted stock award of a number of shares of our common stock equal in value to $50,000. It also provided that any Outside Director who serves as the chairperson of one or more committees of our Board will be granted annually a restricted stock award of a number of shares of our common stock equal in value to $50,000. However, each Outside Director may only receive one award for their service as a chairperson, regardless of the number of committees chaired. The shares of our common stock underlying each award vests in 12 equal monthly installments.

 

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The 2020 Compensation Policy included annual cash compensation to each Outside Director of $25,000 and to the Chairman of our Board of $30,000, payable quarterly. However, on May 27, 2020, our Board approved and adopted a new 2020 Outside Director Compensation Policy (the “May 2020 Compensation Policy” and, together with the January 2020 Compensation Policy, the “2020 Compensation Policies”). The May 2020 Compensation Policy includes the same provisions of the January 2020 Compensation Policy, except that it removed the cash compensation to Outside Directors.

 

Potential Payments Upon Termination or Change-of-Control

 

Mr. Levinsohn

 

The Second A&R Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Levinsohn would be entitled to annual bonuses earned but not yet paid and salary continuation through December 31, 2023, or the end of any renewal term, if applicable, but in no event will he be eligible to less than twelve months of salary continuation and reimbursement of 18 consecutive months of COBRA costs. In addition, he would be entitled to the acceleration of vesting of outstanding equity awards.

 

Mr. Heckman

 

The Heckman Employment Agreement provided for various termination events under which he would have been entitled to one year’s severance equal to his annual salary amount. Subsequent to fiscal 2019, Mr. Heckman and we entered into a Separation Agreement, dated August 26, 2020, pursuant to which we agreed to hire Mr. Heckman as a consultant for a one-year period and pay him a monthly consulting fee of approximately $29,200 per month. The terms of the consulting arrangement were set forth in a separate consulting agreement. The consulting agreement was amended on June 3, 2021 to provide that Mr. Heckman would be paid approximately $57,895 per month through August 2022.

 

Mr. Kraft

 

The 2020 Kraft Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Kraft would be entitled to 50% of his annualized salary, his annual bonus based on 100% of goal attainment, payment for bonuses already earned, and immediate acceleration of the vesting of any unvested time or stock price target options. Effective January 1, 2021, the A&R Kraft Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Kraft would be entitled to one year’s severance equal to his annual salary and bonus amounts based on achievement of 100% of his personal goals, which would be paid as salary continuation, and receive payment for earned businesses. Mr. Kraft would also be entitled to COBRA premiums and all outstanding unvested equity awards would become fully vested.

 

Mr. Zimak

 

The Zimak Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which he would be entitled to salary continuance for the longer of (i) the remainder of the term of the Zimak Employment Agreement or (ii) one year following the date of the termination, and all of the shares of our common stock underlying the restricted stock units awarded to Mr. Zimak pursuant to the Zimak Employment Agreement. Effective January 1, 2021, the A&R Zimak Employment Agreement provides for various termination events under which Mr. Zimak would be entitled to salary continuation for up to one year.

 

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Outstanding Equity Awards at December 31, 2020

 

The following table provides information concerning options to purchase shares of our common stock held by the named executive officers on December 31, 2020.

 

Outstanding Equity Awards At Fiscal Year-End

 

   Option Awards 

(a)

Name

 

(b)

Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options Exercisable

  

(c)

Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options Unexercisable

  

(d)

Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Unearned Options (#)

  

(e)

Option exercise price ($)

  

(f)

Option expiration date

 
James C. Heckman   1,687,500    562,500(1)   -    0.56    9/12/2028 
James C. Heckman   -    14,509,205(2)   -    0.46    4/10/2029 
Ross Levinsohn   -    532,004(3)   -    0.46    4/10/2029 
Ross Levinsohn   1,000,000    1,000,000(4)   -    0.42    6/11/2029 
Ross Levinsohn   -    2,000,000(5)   -    0.81    9/16/2029 

Avi Zimak

   375,000    750,000(6)        0.77    12/2/2029 
Avi Zimak   -    

1,125,000

(7)        0.77    

12/2/2029

 

Avi Zimak

   

250,000

    

-

(8)        -    12/2/2029 

Andrew Kraft

   

1,000,000

    -(9)        

0.35

    

12/13/2028

 

Andrew Kraft

   

400,000